NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Two city officials have recently been recognized for their work in the community.
John Anderson, the president of the City Council, was awarded the Central Jersey Spinal Cord Association John J. Hoagland Friendship Award at the 33rd annual Vito Racine Spinal Cord Research Dinner and Auction on Oct. 30.
Also, Keith Jones II received the Political Action award at the 46th Annual New Brunswick Area NAACP Community Awards on Saturday.
In his official capacity as the Chief of Staff in Mayor Jim Cahill's office or outside it, Jones continuously seeks to serve those in need.
Whether it was the formation of the Feeding New Brunswick Network or launching Code Blue, an initiative that opens public spaces and warm beds to those who need them on frigid nights, he has been a tireless champion for the most vulnerable populations in the city.
On a recent day, he had helped a woman who was having a rent issue and sat in on a meeting about helping recently incarcerated men find work. He has also been working as a mentor to young men of color in the My Brother's Keeper program in New Brunswick.
When asked if he is sometimes the official in the room pushing hardest to help the most vulnerable, he said "Every room I go in, that's the mission, to fight for those in need.
"It's not about if the organization or the municipality is doing the work," Jones said. "Can we do more? How do we reach the next level? I had a meeting today about re-entry work and how could we provide opportunities for those folks. It wasn't about us not doing something, but about taking it a step further.
"Poverty, homeless. I know what that feels like. There is a little more compassion and a sense of urgency in some cases. I feel like I can push several of those buttons to make sure things are moving."
Last month, Bert Baron, the city's information officer, was presented with the 2019 Champions Award from Easter Seals NJ for his ongoing commitment to providing opportunities to those living with disabilities and special needs.