BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Business Partnership has selected Paul C. Grzella, recently retired General Manager/Editor of the Courier News, Home News Tribune, and mycentraljersey.com as the 69th Somerset County Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
The Citizen of the Year award, given annually to Somerset County’s premier civic and business leader, is the county’s most prestigious individual award recognizing a single person for community and professional activities that have contributed to making Somerset County a special place.
The dinner honoring the Citizen of the Year continues the seven-decade long tradition of bringing the community together to honor an individual’s volunteer efforts in support of the County and provides the opportunity to reflect on Somerset County’s rich history and the people who have provided the leadership that has contributed to that success. Grzella will be honored on Thursday, May 2, 2019, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Bridgewater Marriott, 700 Commons Way.
Past recipients are individuals who have dedicated their personal lives to contributing to Somerset County’s widely recognized reputation as one of New Jersey’s best places to live, work, visit, and play. Grzella joins this group following his 35-year career advocating for fair and honest journalism while addressing local issues. Additionally, he is being honored for his unselfish use of power of the press to establish programs to benefit the County’s underserved populations and his significant contribution of volunteer time to non-profit agencies.
Grzella served in a leadership role with the Courier News Wish Book project that has raised more than $500,000 and fulfilled more than 480 personal requests over the past three decades. Under his leadership, the Home News Tribune Needy Cases Fund has raised more than $100,000 for community organizations.
He has planned and managed charitable programs including the One Warm Coat Drive, which collected more than 350 coats and achieved a top performance ranking among participating organizations within the community for the past two years. He annually led the Super Summer Reader program, which encouraged those of all ages to read, write their own book reviews, see their work in print, and meet local authors.
Outside of his professional affiliations, he serves on the finance committee of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Somerville and has led the Laundry Love ministry that addressed the practical and human needs of oft-forgotten community members through the simple act of assisting and communicating with patrons at local coin-operated laundries.
He has served as a member of the executive committee of the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board, a member of the local operating board for Somerset County for the United Way of Northern New Jersey, and a member of the general board of the Somerset County Business Partnership.
He has been a member of the executive committee for Healthier Somerset, a member of EmPOWeR Somerset’s Initiative for Partying Safely (SIPS) executive committee, and member of the community board for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Middlesex County. He is also a member of the marketing committee at Mt. St. Mary House of Prayer in Watchung.
Grzella has received the Somerset County 4-H Outstanding Services Awards in both 2011 and 2017, the NJ Institute of Disabilities Corporate Partner Award in 2017, the Spirit of Somerset Award for Youth Services in 2016, and the NJ Governor’s Council on Mental Health Ambassador Award for Excellence in Media Coverage in 2014.
The Citizen of the Year award was first presented in 1950 to Somerville Mayor Howard Lyons who also served as president and director of the Somerville Trust Company. The announcement of the selection was made by George H. Shay, President of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce.
Mike Kerwin, President & CEO of the Business Partnership noted, “Paul Grzella has been a force in the Somerset County community for decades and is one of the most significant contributors to the growth of Somerset County’s positive reputation. His knowledge of the community and his expertise in the world of journalism makes him a well-deserved recipient of the Citizen of the Year award.”
Registration fee is $110 for Business Partnership members and their guests. Non-member admission is $150. Reservations may be made by calling the Business Partnership at 908-218-4300 or ordering online at http://bit.ly/2019citizen. Registration deadline is Friday, April 26, 2019.
Recent Citizen of the Year recipients are: Alina Klein, Gail Rosen, Mike Camerino, Doris Zampella, Ken Bateman, Paul Stahlin, Rod Ryan, former Somerset County Freeholder Rick Fontana, Jim Ventantonio, Esq., Somerset County Administrator Dick Williams, Manville Mayor Angelo Corradino, Sen. Walter Kavanaugh, Steve Kalafer, Rich Reitman, Bernie Navatto, John Graf, Jr., Robert Corcoran, Christine Rose, Dan Puntillo, Donald Bowers, Evelyn Field, Frank & Audrey Dittman, Adele & Leonard Blumberg, David Prugh, and Arlyn Rus.