Ten years after the World Trade Center towers fell, Ron Dollard still misses his best friend.
Martin Boryczewski was a 29-year-old Parsippany resident who worked for financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Like nearly 3,000 others, he went into the WTC complex on Sept. 11, 2001, never imagining that he wasn't going home.
A decade later, Boryczewski's spirit lives on in his friends and family through a foundation that helps you. The group is called Friends of Marty. Dollard is its president.
"Marty was that guy, the one everyone wanted to be around," Dollard recalled. "He lived his life 110 percent. He worked hard and played hard. And wherever he went, whoever he met remembered him."
Asked what made his friend so memorable, Dollard chalked it up to Boryczewski's relentless positivity.
"He saw the glass as half-full. Marty was always in a good mood and got everyone around him in a good mood. he changed everyone's view on life," Dollard said. "His feeling was, everyone has to work to make a living, but when work was done for the day, he would really enjoy himself.
"You just wanted to be around him. Marty was a really positive person, and he changed the way I thought about things. He instilled confidence in you so you could bring the best out of yourself," Dollard remembered.
Before suiting up for Cantor Fitzgerald, Dollard said Boryczewski played AA and AAA minor league baseball for four years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers organizations.
Dollard said he was a popular player.
"Kids loved him because he was so energetic. He could teach a young kid how to hit or throw a ball, and he got so much of a kick out of helping
people," he said.
That desire to help people is what led to the 2002 of founding Friends of Marty. The organization centered around putting on a golf tournament in Boryczewski's honor.
"Initially, it was 40 people. We'd get together, talk about him, play golf. We decided to make it an annual event and it grew every year, as friends bought their friends," he said. "Last year, we got IRS nonprofit status, which really opened it up to corporate sponsors and to get the community involved to do some good."
Four years ago, the organization decided to use the funds it was raising to make a difference for students at Boryczewski and Dollard's alma mater, Morris Catholic High School.
"The scholarship goes to an [incoming] junior to offset tuition costs for their junior and senior years. The student we choose is one who exudes the way of life that Marty lived, someone who is active in school and the community," Dollard explained.
All of the tournament's proceeds go toward the scholarship.
This 10th annual event takes place Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Skyview Golf Club in Sparta at 10 a.m. Information on how to register can be found at the Friends of Marty website. The deadline to register is Sept. 16.
"It's kind of a strange feeling," said Dollard, who clearly still struggles with his friend's absence. "In one hand I can't believe 10 years has gone by so fast, but it's 10 years of establishing this memory of Marty. We first developed a website, then started the [nonprofit], and it's all based on that initial friendship and [a wish] to let everyone else know the type of person he was and enable the community to remember him through the acts of kindness we do.
"It's weird... Everything happens for a reason. Without 9/11, we wouldn't be able to help students and spread Marty's good will. His name and way of teaching is living on... and hopefully will for a long time. I hope Marty would approve."