Photo Gallery: ‘Week Of The People’ Features Tribute To ‘Turk’ Young

2016 Week of the People - 5

Waltin “Turk” Young, with megaphone, speaks to the crowd at the honorary reaming of Matilda Avenue in his name.

It may have been the “Week of the People” celebration, but there was clearly only one man of the hour at Naaman Williams Park on Aug. 27.

That man was Waltin “Turk” Young, a mentor and coach to scores of township residents. An honorary renaming of Matilda Avenue to Waltin “Turk” Young Avenue kicked off the day, which featured food, entertainment and the opportunity for schoolchildren to receive school supplies.

“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve all this, but they claim I’ve done something,” Young, 88, said. “It’s still hard to believe, that people thought so much.”

Young, who lived on Matilda Avenue before he and his wife, Tina, moved to North Carolina about 12 years ago, said that he was happy to work with township youth.

“My main spiel was, I would talk to the kids, ‘well, how are your grades?’” Young said. “Are you thinking beyond high school? Even the elementary school kids, ‘how are your grades?’”

“I wanted to make sure they would go a little further in their education,” he said. “I would say, ‘you don’t have to go to college to be a success.’ If you don’t go to college, there’s still a future for you, because everybody can’t go. But if you want to go, I will get you in.”

Young said he was able to help many athletes get into college through his association with many college athletic directors.

He and his wife, he said, “saw that a lot of the kids here in the neighborhood went to college.”

He said he would tell children now “just keep their head on straight and do positive things, good things will happen.”

Adressing the crowd of friends and family who gathered at the park for his big day, Young said he did not achieve any accomplishments alone.

“All the things that I’ve done, it wasn’t me, it was we,” he said, referring to his wife. “I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Young also told the crowd how he acquired his nickname.

“When I taught in Newark, all the kids were ‘Crumb,’ because I couldn’t remember their names,” he said. “When I came to Franklin, all the kids were ‘Turk,’ so they started calling me Turk.”

Edward Spencer, one of the people behind the honorary renaming of Matilda Avenue, lauded Young because, he said, “he and his family gave their time to make Franklin Township the Franklin Township that we have today.”

Spencer said that he’d met Young when he was young.

“The thing that I admired was that he was committed, he and his wife,” Spencer said. “He is an outstanding man. It’s as simple as that.”

“When a gift is given to somebody, you have to take that gift and give it to someone else,” he said.

2016 Week of the People


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