EAST ORANGE, NJ — Khalil Oliviera and Syid Griggs, East Orange Department of Public Works Employees who work in the Traffic Division, were performing their regular duties along North Harrison and Main Street in East Orange when they heard a commotion and then heard an elderly woman scream that a man had grabbed her purse.

Without hesitating, both men sprang into action and chased down the assailant, holding him until police arrived on the scene.

Their heroic deeds did not go unnoticed and both men were recently honored during the October 17th East Orange Police Promotion Ceremony by Mayor Ted R. Green, the East Orange City Council, Director of Public Safety Dominick Saldida and Police Chief Phyllis Bindi.

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“This is not something new. This is what I do,” said Oliviera, who has worked with DPW since 2015. “I help people. I cook, and so I used to make food and give it people who were hungry. I also used to cut grass for people who could not do it on their own.”

Born and raised in an area of East Orange once fondly known as “Lil’ City,” Griggs said he loves East Orange and it was pure “natural instinct” for him to step in to help. 

“I am a part of this community. My family lives in this community,” said Griggs, who joined the city’s DPW team last year. “If I see someone, especially a woman or a child, needs help, I am going to intervene.”

Within several hours, a post on the East Orange City Hall’s official Facebook page had received almost 8,000 views, nearly 600 likes, 175 comments and 85 shares.

“What these men did was brave and unselfish,” said Mayor Green. “It makes us all proud and reinforces the charge that East Orange is ‘One City, One Community, with One Goal That Equals Progress."