Two determined dads take father/daughter dance county-wide

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A couple of fathers didn't want to see a tradition fall by the wayside, so this year two funeral directors took it upon themselves to bring a father/daughter dance back to life.

When they hit some road blocks and it had to be canceled, they remained determined to reincarnate the tradition and spawned an idea to go county-wide.

A special bond
Jason Apter, co-owner and operators of J.L. Apter Jewish Memorial Chapels and Louis Ruggiero, co-owner and funeral director at Illiff-Ruggiero Funeral Home, in Newton and Smith-Taylor Ruggiero Funeral Home in Dover know the bond between a father and daughter is a special.

"I felt it was unfair to disappoint the girls who were already planning and looking forward to the event with their fathers," Ruggiero said.

"My own daughter, had already selected a dress already with my wife, I didn't want to let her down," Apter added.

They kept on talking about it and soon, they'd arranged to hold a county-wide Father/Daughter Dance scheduled for the Friday before Father's Day.

"So often the moms run things at our schools. This will give the dads a turn to stage some charity events," said Apter. "We started talking about the tradition of having a father/daughter dance, and it just all came together."

His son is a member of the Masonic Lodge in Andover, and the lodge is letting them use the space for the event.

Helping local charities
They also created a non-profit called The Interfaith Dad's Club of Sussex County, so that proceeds from the dance and future events can benefit local charities.

Apter, of Fredon, and Ruggiero, of Branchville, will sponsor the dance, providing the DJ, refreshments, corsages and possibly valet parking.

The cost will be $10 to attend. Proceeds will benefit a yet-to-be-named local charity.

The dance will be held on Friday, June 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lodge.

"We wanted a nice window of time so fathers and daughters get there around their schedules," Apter added.

It will be open to dads with daughters age kindergarten through seventh grade.

In the future, the Interfaith Dad's Club plans to sponsor more annual events including an evening at the races at the Meadowlands. Proceeds from all events will benefit local charities.

For further information about the dance and to sign up, call Apter at 862-324-4200 or e-mail InterfaithDadsClubofSussexCounty@gmail.com.

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