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Byron Goundrey, 2005 ALJBS Governor Passes Away

Governor Byron Goundrey of North Brunswick, NJ

The American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS) community is saddened to report that Byron Goundrey, a talented and courageous young man who was elected Governor in 2005, passed away on April 11, 2007. Although Byron suffered from spinal muscular atrophy (SPA), he was able to overcome physical limitations and win the support of fellow delegates to attain the highest position at the program. Byron hailed from North Brunswick Township and was a freshman at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ studying Political Science and Middle Eastern studies, and was also selected as a Rutgers freshman for the Emerging Leaders Institute.

As a delegate of the program, Byron was sponsored by the Joyce Kilmer American Legion Post 25 in Milltown. He was a member of the ALJBS Nationalist Party of Harrison City. Early in the 2005 session, Byron worked diligently on The Statesman, the official newspaper of ALJBS. His warm personality and caring nature won over the hearts of his fellow delegates, many of whom volunteered to help him type articles and get around campus in a timely manner. Byron’s confidence grew with each day and by mid-week was forced to make a difficult decision; should he run for a seat at the American Legion Jersey Boys Nation program in Washington, D.C. later in the summer or for the governorship of ALJBS? Byron decided that state level issues were more to his liking and delivered a series of eloquent speeches that won him the position of American Legion Jersey Boys State Governor.

Byron's platform consisted of such issues as immigration policy, environmental protection, and education reform. He was honored by Township of North Brunswick on September 6, 2005 with a proclamation stating that "Byron Goundrey has shown exceptional leadership and character in attaining and serving as American Legion Boys State Governor… We, the Mayor and Council of the Township of North Brunswick, do hereby proclaim the respect and admiration of the community of North Brunswick to Byron Goundrey and wish him continued success for many years to come."

The American Legion, ALJBS staff, and alumni are grateful for all that Byron did to teach us about perseverance and courage. His legacy will live on and serve as an inspiration for future generations of statesmen. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Kathy and Gene, extended family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Byron Goundrey Scholarship Fund at North Brunswick Township High School, c/o 2 Bruce Ct., Milltown, NJ 08850, or to

originally posted April 12, 2007