LIVINGSTON, NJ — Members of Livingston’s Camuso Holiday Display Committee gathered at Monday’s township council to present two checks totaling $5,034 to the Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC).
Over the last few years, the holiday display at the Memorial Oval has collected donations from attendees for the Burn Center at SMBC, where the display’s originator, Livingston resident Ernie Camuso, was once treated prior to his death in 2010.
Stephen Santola, a longtime member of the Camuso Committee who attended Monday’s meeting along with several “Camuso Elves” who came from as far as Randolph to show their support for the Burn Foundation, presented the checks to Kathe Conlon, director of burn programs at SBMC.
“On behalf of all of the burn team and our children, I can’t really thank you enough; it really just means so much to all of us,” said Conlon. “I was one of the nurses that took care of Mr. Camuso, and he holds a special place in our hearts…I think out of all the groups that raise money for us, yours has the most difficult because you always have the coldest, wettest, darkest weather, but you do a remarkable job…We are so grateful.”
He noted that the two checks represent the amount raised from the 2017 and 2018 holiday displays, as the ceremony initially scheduled on Dec. 1, 2018 to present the 2017 check to the SBMC Burn Foundation was canceled due to inclement weather.
“We always mention up here that we are a town of volunteers and that we have the best volunteers in the entire state—maybe the country—and it’s never better reflected than in the Camuso Committee,” said Mayor Al Anthony, who also serves as council liaison to the committee. “In a town full of so many volunteers, the Camuso Committee is a shining example of our residents at their best. The displays get more and more beautiful every year and it’s great to be able to look out from Town Hall and see the work of so many volunteers all the time right there at the Oval.”
Committee member Nancy Dinar, who during the season shot a panoramic photo of the Camuso, presented the council with a framed version that she hopes the township will display at the municipal building for all to enjoy.
“I made this and I thought that it was something that should be in Town Hall so that people can see how wonderful all of these people are and the work that they do,” she said.
Anthony thanked Dinar for the gesture and vowed that the governing body would “display this proudly.”