FAIR LAWN, NJ - Marianne Pettineo, a lifelong resident of the borough, was recognized on Jan. 22 for her work as ADA Advisory Committee Chair for seven years.

"Marianne is unbelieveable with all of her hard work," Mayor Kurt Peluso said. "She has been an example for all of Bergen County to replicate."

Councilwoman Cristina Cutrone said Pettineo asked the Council not to buy her a plaque, as is customary when the Council honors someone, but to donate the $100 to buy Brandon Higgins' family a van so they can easily transport the young man who has a brain injury.

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Deputy Mayor of Community Affairs, John Cosgrove, said he is planning a Tricky Tray on April 4 to raise funds for the van, as well. 

"Marianne is truly a compassionate person," Assemblyman Lisa Swain said. "She is the person who wanted to be sure everyone has access. The town is so lucky to have her."

"I can't take all the credit," Pettineo said. "I've had a lot of help.

"I have an adult daughter with special needs and I had to drive her to Mahwah for her to have proper services. 

"And when we wanted to build the special needs playground, my goal was to raise $25,000, but imagine my surprise at the town's generosity when we raised $115,000," Pettineo said.

The Barrier-Free Playground in Berdan Grove was erected in 2014 and had more pieces added to it in the spring of 2015.

Pettineo currently works as assistant to the mayor, as well, and was a long-time volunteer through Fair Lawn's vast network of PTA's in the school district.

The Committee’s objective, according to its website, is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities and help remove the barriers and obstacles that hinder their everyday activities.

During its active time, the Committee, along with Pettineo's strong leadership, as provided a forum for residents to report and discuss disability access issues in Fair Lawn; suggested improvements of borough facilities that currently provide obstacles for persons with disabilities; engaged in projects that improve overall handicapped accessibility within the borough; disseminated information that can be of assistance to people with disabilities.

In 2018 alone, the group hosted several dances at the Fair Lawn Community Center Gym: a summer beach party; a Halloween party and a salute to veterans.

For anyone looking to get involved, click on the group's website: http://fairlawnada.com/index.html