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Bernardsville, December 10, 2015 -- The Gail Blake Foundation made its first contribution of $25,000.00 to the Somerset Hills School District at the recent Board of Education meeting on December 9th. 


The Gail Blake Foundation is a 5O1C3 that was set up in the name of the late Gail Blake, an educator who spent 30 years of her life caring for children in the district with special needs and learning disabilities. The foundation was set up by Gail's three sons Dexter, Darren and Dennis Blake who all attended and graduated from the Bernardsville School District. 


The funds generated by the Gail Blake Foundation will be used within the Somerset Hills School district to help the development of the special education department that Gail worked so tirelessly to enhance and develop. For more information on the Gail Blake Foundation please visit or call (908) 953-8400. 

The Bernardsville News 

May 16, 2014

Late special ed instructor to be honored with 5K run in Bernardsville


By W. JACOB PERRY, Staff Writer


BERNARDSVILLE – Mrs. Gail Blake taught local children with special needs for 30 years before she passed away last September, but her work is not being forgotten.  


Her three sons, all graduates of Bernards High School, plan to extend her efforts by holding what is billed as the first Gail Blake Memorial 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, May 31.


All proceeds will go to the Gail Blake Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2013 to support special needs students in the Somerset Hills Regional School District.


“My brothers and I knew what an integral part she had with all those kids she taught, and we would like to keep it going,” said Dennis Blake, the youngest son.


Mrs. Blake was a special education aide in Somerset Hills Regional for three decades. She started at Bedwell Elementary School, moved to Bernardsville Middle School (BMS), and then spent the rest of her career at Bernards High.


She taught until March 2013 when she left her post due to illness, and had planned to return before her passing on Sept. 14, Dennis Blake said. She was 71.


“Not only did she help the kids with their homework and studies on a day-to-day basis, but she helped them tackle growth and adjustments as they’d go from elementary school to middle school to high school,” Blake said.

Among the students was Lee Prendella of Bernardsville. Mrs. Blake was Prendella’s primary support person in class from third grade through graduation from high school in 2005.


Prendella, daughter of former Board of Education member Roseanne Mirabella, plans to walk in honor of Mrs. Blake at the inaugural event.


According to the Gail Blake Foundation website, Mrs. Blake not only helped Prendella with her studies such as math and science, but also “ran interference’’ for the student when she needed someone to help her “navigate the social life of elementary, middle and high school.’’


Prendella “now calls her ‘my angel in heaven.’ ’’


‘A BHS reunion’


Mrs. Blake’s three sons – Bernards High graduates Dexter from the Class of 1988, Darren from 1990 and Dennis from 1994 – are also participating.


“All of our friends are coming back to run,” said Dennis Blake, “It’s going to be a Bernards High School reunion.”

The five-kilometer route will begin at 10 a.m. and pass all three schools where Mrs. Blake taught, starting from the Olcott Building on Olcott Avenue and heading north to Seney Drive, past Bedwell and BMS, down Old Fort Lane and Mullens Lane, and back to Bernards High.


There will also be a fun run at the Bernards High track for all ages that will take place after the start of the 5K race.

Food and refreshments will be offered afterwards.


Registration for the race begins at 8 a.m. on March 31.


Pre-registration and the entry fee - $25 advance online for the 5K, $35 for “paper’’ registration for the 5K, and $10 for the fun run - are due Thursday, May 29, and can be sent to: The Gail Blake Foundation, Inc., 61 Claremont Road, Suite 2B, Bernardsville, N.J. 07924.


The fee provides a Gail Blake Memorial Run T-shirt. Prizes will also be awarded to runners in the 5K event.

More information can be obtained by calling (908) 953-8400, or by

A number of sponsors have also stepped forward, including Open Road Bridgewater Mercedes, Tiffany & Co., Breitling and TD Bank, among others.


Information about the Gail Blake Foundation can be found at


“We’re looking for a lot of volunteers, a lot of runners,” Dennis Blake said. “We want to get the whole town behind a great cause.”

Inside Hockey Icon Wayne Gretzky's Inspiring Friendship with a Man with Down Syndrome: They've 'Always Gotten Along Like Peas and Carrots,' Says Brother

June 9, 2016

In 1981, when then-20-year-old hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky first met Joey Moss – the brother of Wayne's girlfriend at the time – he had no idea where it would lead. 

But Gretzky knew one thing – he wanted to do whatever he could to help the "outgoing, loving" teenager with Down syndrome. 

"Pretty much from the day I met him I was conscious that I wanted to make sure he was taken care of," Gretzky tells PEOPLE. 

Inside Hockey Icon Wayne Gretzky's Inspiring Friendship with a Man with Down Syndrome: They've 'Always Gotten Along Like Peas and Carrots,' Says Brother| Heroes Among Us, Real People Stories, Real Heroes, Wayne Gretzky
Joey Moss (left) and Wayne Gretzky. True to his word, the now-retired 55-year-old athlete, nicknamed "the Great One" for his awe-inspiring artistry on the ice and his staggering 61 NHL records, has made sure that Moss, now 52, was taken care of. 


And along the way, Gretzky – who learned about Down syndrome firsthand as a boy after regularly spending his Sundays with his beloved Aunt Ellen [she died in 2003] – has also become something of a champion to others like Joey and their parents. 

He not only transformed Moss's life in 1984 when he secured him a job [which he still has] as a locker room attendant with the Edmonton Oilers, but he made sure Joey had a place to live after his mother died in 2007. 

"Joey and Wayne," says Moss' brother Stephen, 47, “have just always just gotten along like peas and carrots. He loves to spoil him." 

For more on Wayne Gretzky's inspiring friendship, pick up a copy of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday

Inside Hockey Icon Wayne Gretzky's Inspiring Friendship with a Man with Down Syndrome: They've 'Always Gotten Along Like Peas and Carrots,' Says Brother| Heroes Among Us, Real People Stories, Real Heroes, Wayne Gretzky
Muhammad Ali on the cover of PEOPLE.

Through a series of golf tournaments beginning in 1985, Gretzky has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Edmonton, Alberta-based Winnifred Stewart Association, which provides housing and other services to people like Joey. 

"Wayne's legacy has continued to live on," says Vicky Andress, who oversees the organization's 12 facilities, including the one where Moss now lives with nine other adults, "allowing us to expand our services and opportunities to others like Joey." 

Money raised from Gretzky's tournaments have purchased and furnished six homes in the Edmonton area that now provide housing for 25 developmentally disabled adults. 

Inside Hockey Icon Wayne Gretzky's Inspiring Friendship with a Man with Down Syndrome: They've 'Always Gotten Along Like Peas and Carrots,' Says Brother| Heroes Among Us, Real People Stories, Real Heroes, Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky, Joey Moss and Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones. 

Over the years, Moss's hard work [Gretzky also got him a job with the city's pro football team] has endeared him to those living in his native Edmonton. He is sometimes tapped to sing the Canadian national anthem at local sporting events. His photo appears on city buses and on a mural on the side of a downtown building. 

"He's everywhere and I think it's wonderful," laughs Gretzky, whose five kids and wife are also "very close" to Moss. "The people of Edmonton have accepted Joey as an everyday person without any sort of handicap and that's what's really special about his story."


Gail Blake Memorial 5K and Fun Run

May 31st, 2014


The Gail Blake Foundation will be hosting the inaugural Gail Blake Memorial Run on May 31st, 2014! The race will begin at Bernards High School and will continue past each school she impacted.  The Fun Run will be for all ages and will take place after the start of the 5K.  


Registration for the race begins as 8:00 am with a race start time of 10:00 am.  Everyone that registers will receive a memorial run t-shirt! 

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