MAYWOOD, NJ -- As part of his second annual "Hometown Heroes" award ceremony, U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) honored Paramus resident and President of the Paramus Children's Health Foundation Martin Diamond. Diamond is among 24 honorees chosen by Rep. Gottheimer from the Fifth District that he represents, and he has worked along with many members of the Paramus community to raise over $40,000 through a GoFundMe campaign, as well as additional tens of thousands from direction donations and community events, to benefit families impacted by the tragic East Brook Middle School school bus accident. Diamond was nominated for the distinction by Mayor Rich LaBarbiera.
"The work we do at the Paramus Children's Health Foundation has taken on even greater meaning in the wake of the tragedy that occurred recently and I'm proud that we have been able to assist many families in dire need of support," said Diamond, who established the PCHF in 2014 originally to benefit Paramus families following local residents TJ Franson and Thomas Caruso being diagnosed with severe illnesses. Since then the organization has helped many families with limited means cope with illness, injury and other hardship.
The event was held at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness in Maywood and was attended by dozens of honorees, family, friends and supporters. Rep. Gottheimer began the program last year in an attempt to recognize individuals who have volunteered, served, or worked to help others in North Jersey. Diamond attended along with Mayor LaBarbiera.
"I'm thankful to Congressman Gottheimer for recognizing the work we are doing and for his own efforts to help Paramus and Bergen County," said Diamond. "This is a wonderful honor and something I won't forget."
“Today’s awardees are bound by a shared sense of duty – to their families, their communities, and their country. They put the needs of others ahead of their own. None of these people stood up because they sought recognition, they did it because they wanted to do what was right,” said Rep. Gottheimer. "Thank you to the Fifth District mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, neighbors, coworkers, families, and friends who submitted nominations for this year’s awards. I couldn't be more proud to honor these Hometown Heroes today.”
"I was proud to be in attendance as Marty Diamond received this honor for his work with the Paramus Children's Health Foundation, an organization that has become a true pillar of our great community," said Mayor LaBarbiera. "Marty and everyone at PCHF do an outstanding job and on behalf of the people of Paramus I want to say thank you for all you have done for our great Borough."
Other honorees included:
- Walter Caraballo of Blairstown
- Reverend Donna West of Hackensack
- Ralph Warner of Midland Park
- Pat Lynch of Newton
- Officer Lou Failla of Fair Lawn
- Lynne Kramer of Allamuchy
- Detective Randy Velez of Emerson
- Chief Clint Miller of Montvale
- Coach Glen Popolo of Ramsey
- EMT Amanda Hernandez of Bergenfield
- Members of Girl Scout Troop 19 of Teaneck
- Dianna Morrison of Newton
- OEM Director Roy Bauberger of Oakland
- Gayle Samitt of Woodcliff Lake
- Assistant Fire Chief David Berkenbush of Allamuchy
- Jane Damstra of Vernon
- Captain Ryan Shell of Bergenfield
- EMT Maura McLaughlin of Bergenfield
- Former Mayor Vince Barra of Allendale
- Gabby Cox of Franklin
- Jack Wallace of Franklin Lakes
- Lou Caruso of Green Township
- Deacon Robert Robinson and Rosemarie Sorce of Hackensack
- Sergeant Michael Graham of Northvale
- Andy Reithmayr of Haworth
- Captain Peggy Hissum of Oxford
- Mike Epstein of Paramus
- Officers James Warnet and Greg Slater of Bergenfield
- Patrolman Brian Depree, Firefighter Tim Riegel, and Chief Matt Ranone of Ringwood
- Maxine Shilan of Teaneck
- Officer Jonathan Bregman of West Milford
- Alma Mader of Wyckoff