As it is for most New Jersey natives, the draw of year-round sunshine in the South is enchanting. As soon as she could, Debbie Steigerwald left her hometown of Howell Township. She landed in Pensacola, Florida, but even that wasn’t far enough south.
Within two years, she and her husband Chris were married and living in the U.S. Virgin Islands – initially landing on St. Croix, but eventually they discovered and fell in love with St. John, where they would spend the first decade of their married life. That was the beginning of many lifelong commitments she would honor.
This past September, Debbie enjoyed an important milestone as we celebrated her fifteen year anniversary with our law firm. She is our longest tenured employee. In fact, she has been with the firm as long as Mr. Goldenfarb has!
Prior to 2002, Debbie had been Mr. Goldenfarb’s legal assistant for several years while he was employed by another personal injury law firm. That year, he decided to start his own law firm. “He took me to lunch on a Thursday. Craig said he would be giving his resignation the next day and starting his own firm, and asked me to come with him”, Debbie explains. “I knew that Craig was smart, ambitious, and very hard-working. I figured it was time for a change; and I was confident that Craig would be successful.”
When asked about Debbie leaving a stable job for an unknown future to join him, Craig admits, “Debbie must have seen something in me that I wasn’t sure was there at the time.” And how does that feel today? “I feel amazed and proud that someone has chosen to take this journey alongside me, and I’m so thankful to Debbie for her faith in me.”
Our firm has undergone truly stunning transformations over these fifteen years, from Debbie and Craig in a very small office space, to more than fifty employees spread among seven different departments. But, as they say, some things never change; such as the fact that Mr. Goldenfarb continues to be a hard-worker, and Debbie continues to honor her most important commitments.
One of Debbie’s favorite pastimes is horticulture and trying to grow their own food with her husband on their one-and-a-half-acre homestead in the Acreage. Since building their house twenty-five years ago, there are now more than twenty different kinds of fruit trees growing on their property.
On her work ethic, which shows no signs of abating, Debbie explains that while she is on the clock, she works as hard as she can for her employer. That was true on her first day, and it’s true on her 5,476th day. It’s an important tenant of her Christian work ethic to give her employer her best efforts.
Next February, she and Chris will be celebrating 39 years of marriage. Commitment is a theme that runs deep in Debbie’s life. Ironically, celebrating fifteen years with our firm is the shortest one she’s accomplished.
Thank you, Debbie, for your continued commitment to excellence and service to our law firm and our clients, and congratulations on your fifteen anniversary!