LIVINGSTON, NJ — Kevin Cancino, the assistant director of safety and security at the Livingston Mall, was honored by the Livingston Township Council on Monday for heroic actions that ultimately saved the life of an 81-year-old Short Hills man in March.

During a special ceremony at Monday’s township council meeting, the family and friends of Murray and Maya Bloom publicly thanked Cancino, who was presented with a proclamation from the township acknowledging his heroism.

“God originally populated the world with only one person—Adam, from whom we are all descended—and this is to teach us that whoever saves one life is as if he had saved the entire world,” said Murray. “When I awaken every morning, I am aware of the fact that the day before me is a gift both from God and with Kevin assisting. My thanks are beyond the power of words to define.”

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The Short Hills couple was shopping at the Livingston Mall when Murray went off on his own to buy his wife an anniversary gift and Maya shopped for clothes for their three granddaughters. The couple agreed to meet a half hour later, but Maya could not locate her husband at the agreed upon time—an extremely unusual occurrence in their nearly 50 years of living together, according to Maya.

After 15 minutes of searching in the sitting area, the car and elsewhere, Maya began to worry. Not knowing what to do next, she called her close friend, Jannett Mahler, a Livingston resident who lives nearby and arrived within minutes of hearing the concern in Maya’s voice.

Mahler ordered Maya to stay put while she went to find help and returned with Cancino, who alerted Maya that there had been an incident near the food court and that Murray was sent to the emergency room at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Maya was too emotional to reveal exactly what the incident entailed—only that it was many months before Murray fully recovered and that Cancino’s actions that day saved her husband’s life. She was so grateful to have her husband back that Maya knew she needed to call the mayor of Livingston and ask that the local hero be publicly honored.

“When something like this happens to you, especially when you’re above 70 and Murray just turned 81…you don’t know what the implications are going to be,” said Maya. “This community here in Livingston has been a very warm and welcoming community.”

After being reunited with Murray at the hospital, Maya said that it was “a long story of recovery and coming back to normal life,” but that the lesson she has learned from this experience is the importance of place and time.

In addition to receiving a commemorative plaque from the mayor and council, Cancino also received a personal gift from Murray, who is an artist and presented him with a special art piece displaying the quote: “A man’s joy is greatest when he is with his family.”

“I’m very thankful that the events that day occurred the way that they did because without that, I know a family would be short one person,” said Cancino. “To have that happen in my family would be a disaster, so I know that personally affected me as well.”

Mayor Ed Meinhardt noted that this presentation came at an appropriate time, as it occurred only a week after the Jewish New Year. He wished the Bloom family a healthy and happy new year, adding that this notion “does not say enough after hearing this story.”

Pictured above, courtesy of Yael Bloom, are Kevin Cancino, Murray Bloom, Dominick Morizio (director of safety and security of Livingston Mall) and Paul Della Croce (operations director at Livingston Mall). 

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