DENVILLE, NJ – The Denville Township Council recognized several individuals and organizations during its Sept. 17 meeting.

Charity checks were given to the Denville Fire Department and the Joey Bella Memorial Fund following the success of the Denville Sprint Triathlon, which occurred in July. The triathlon is an annual event held at James F. Dyer Park at Cook’s Pond where approximately 350 athletes participate in a third-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run.

The Denville Sprint Triathlon was originally held in celebration of the township’s centennial year in 2013. Since then, the race has returned to Cook’s Pond annually but with a new purpose of raising funds for the Denville Fire Department and charities and organizations such as the Joey Bella Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists families caring for relatives with terminal diseases.

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This year, the triathlon committee presented Joey Bella volunteers with a check for $21,000 during the council meeting. The triathlon committee delivered another check for $1,000 to Assistant Fire Chief Dan Gilberti and Ann-Marie Corbitt, president of the Denville Township Fire Association.

 “Anything that promotes Joey Bella is great,” said Rich Yobs, a Denville resident and president of the charity fund.

“Any press is good and helps make people aware of what we do, and the funds we get allow us to provide and support more families. I’m happy that the triathlon is so successful. It’s another great thing that occurs in Denville,” Yobs added.

 “I feel very good about this,” said Michael Laudati of Denville, founder and director of the triathlon.

“It all wouldn’t be possible without the council, the mayor and the fire and police departments. Everyone is so supportive, which makes a great environment and attracts many athletes and volunteers for a successful event.”

This year marks the time that Laudati has decided to step away from his work on the triathlon to focus on new endeavors. Consequently, during the council meeting, the triathlon committee recognized Laudati with a plaque, and Denville Mayor Thomas Andes presented him with a proclamation for his efforts. According to the proclamation, over the past six years since the triathlon’s inception, more than $145,000 have been raised for local charities, and more than $7,000 have been raised for the Denville Fire Department.

“The Denville Triathlon committee, the Joey Bella Memorial Fund, the Denville Fire Department, and the Township of Denville would like to acknowledge and thank the extraordinary work the founder and leader of the Denville Triathlon has done as he steps down and moves on to the next chapter of his life,” said Andes.

“Now therefore, I, Thomas W. Andes, Mayor of the Township of Denville proclaim Tuesday, the 17th of September 2019, ‘Michael Laudati Day’ in Denville and extend heartfelt appreciation and sincere thanks to Michael Laudati for his distinguished service to our community and urge all our citizens to pay special tribute to this very special member of our community.”

Later during the council meeting, Andes took a moment to recognize the recent passing of Senator Anthony Bucco, who suffered a heart attack on Mon., Sept. 16.

“[Senator Bucco] was respected by his peers, was a man of faith and a man of his word, and just overall a good friend,” said Andes.


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