LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Rotary Club of Livingston Foundation honored Internationally Bestselling Author Harlan Coben and the Burn Center of Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) on Thursday at its 2015 Awards Ceremony. Friends, fans, family and Rotary members gathered at the Hanover Manor for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as Coben and Burn Center Medical Director Dr. Michael Marano accepted the Sixth Annual New Jersey Citizenship Award and the Fifth Annual Community Service Award, respectively.
All proceeds from the 2015 Rotary Club of Livingston Foundation Awards Dinner went to Rotary-sanctioned charities, which include the Gift of Life, Polio Plus, Camp Merry Heart, the Rotary Foundation, Comfort Project 260 and various community charitable organizations.
Coben, who graduated LHS in 1980 and has since gone on to write 27 fiction novels, remained at the Hanover Manor for a book signing following an acceptance speech that he devoted primarily to the tight-knit community in which he was raised.
“This town means a great deal to me—anyone who reads my books knows that I have Livingston on every page,” said Coben, who demonstrated just how much Livingston means to him by asking everyone he went to school with to stand up. “I have so many so many specific memories of almost everyone in this room.”
Nearly half the room was filled with LHS Class of ’80 alumni as well as Coben’s wife, brother, two cousins, aunt and uncle. Speaking affectionately about his late parents, Coben said he constantly strives to mirror his father’s parenting skills in his personal life and his mother’s creativity in his professional life.
Coben’s LHS Basketball teammate Scott Parsons and 1980 Superintendent of Schools Mel Klein presented Coben with the award, which acknowledged Coben for enriching the community’s culture and entertaining millions internationally by bringing recognition to Livingston and surrounding communities. Both shared fond memories of Coben as a bright, charming LHS student and basketball star.
“People who are not teachers may not understand how we have so much pride in what our students do,” said Klein, who also acknowledged the SBMC Burn Center by saying that he “marvels at all they do.”
SBMC Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Ahearn presented the 2015 Community Service Award to the SBMC Burn Center, which was accepted by Medical Director Michael Marano.
“I’ve seen so many times that organizations and individuals don’t get praise or enough recognition in their own community and I think this is a group that really does recognize Saint Barnabas and the Burn Center for what it is, which is a great resource for the state of New Jersey,” said Marano. “It’s with great honor that I accept this on behalf of the Burn Center.”
Ahearn personally thanked Marano for all that he and his colleagues to at the burn center and for continuing to nurture patients back to health.
“One of the things we try and preach at SBMC and remind everyone is that we do worthwhile work,” said Ahearn.