SUMMIT, NJ -- SAGE Eldercare has named Carmen and Edwin Hernandez of New Providence as their “Sweethearts of the Year” for 2012.  For the New Providence residents, volunteering at SAGE has always been a family affair. 

In 2002, Carmen and Edwin’s youngest son, Paul, was 14 and wanted to do community service by volunteering at Meals on Wheels. So he brought his mom, Carmen, to SAGE and they spent the summer delivering meals together. When school started that September, Carmen kept coming in on her own, with Paul joining her when school was out. 

The relationship between the Hernandez family and SAGE went one step further when Edwin also became interested in the eldercare agency and the countless ways the community is served.  As Vice President and NJ Retail Manager for Banco Popular, Hernandez organized a group of colleagues to deliver meals on “Make a Difference Day” one October. That group enjoyed the experience so much, they returned annually on that volunteer day. Edwin then formally submitted SAGE Eldercare into the Banco Popular Foundation Grant Program, which had been created in 2004.   

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“We are very excited to name Carmen and Edwin as our 2012 Sweethearts of the Year,” said Marianne Kranz, Director of Volunteer Services at SAGE. “Through the generosity of the Hernandez family’s time and volunteer work, our relationship has grown into a wonderful alliance, which eventually resulted in SAGE being awarded grant funding over several years, ranging between $5,000 and $10,000."

Now that Edwin is retired, he is able to join Carmen on her weekly Meals on Wheels run. 

“This award is like icing on the cake,” Edwin said when he was told that he and his wife were being awarded the honor. “We are very grateful to SAGE for this award and feel like we get so much more out of the experience than what we put into it,” Carmen added.