NUTLEY, NJ - The annual Lollipop Party was held on June 2, to raise funds for the Nutley Volunteer Emergency & Rescue Squad by trading Dum Dums for drinks.

Over 100 people attended the fundraiser bringing in $1,395 for NVERS according to squad member Marianne Zurawski. Residents and squad members gathered to eat, drink, and socialize in the gigantic backyard of Ruth Bedford’s historic home on Highfield Lane in Nutley.

Bedford sat near the entrance to her home greeting each of the guests as they walked in. Nutley resident Dave Wilson led tours of the historic home, describing its history.

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Plenty of appetizers filled two rows of tables in the middle of the backyard, with seats circling the edge of the yard. Hors d'oeuvres included shrimp cocktail, Swedish meatballs, wraps, mini tuna sandwiches in phyllo dough, bruschetta, cheese and crackers. There were also fruit cups skewers, chocolate covered strawberries and cookies. Along the back of the yard NVERS members set up two tables playing the roles of bartenders, creating just about any drink requested.

In separate interviews NVERS members spoke about what inspired them to be on the volunteer squad.

President Henry Meola said, “I always like to do what my parents do and they always helped us kids. So I wanted to help others as well.”

Secretary Hayley Meola said, “I saw my brother [Henry] do it. I really wanted to help people and I wanted to go to nursing school. It was a good stepping stone. I’m graduating in August from Holy Name Medical Center School of Nursing.

Zurawski said, “My father started to get sick and I wanted to get to know how to help him. I’ve been a member for 26 years now.”

Chris Tyburski said, “I started volunteering in 2002. I grew up in Nutley, live in Nutley, a unique way to give back.  When you call 911 you expect someone to be there.  They would train us; you didn’t need to know anything. It’s a great way to be involved.”

John Saar said, “My wife died of cancer, just when I got out of the Air Force. The Emergency Squad brought her to Sloan Kettering in New York City. After she passed away I decided to give back.”

Rich Budris said, “It’s a good way to do something more interesting and give back to the community.”

Jose Rivera said he has been a member for about seven years now. “I just like helping people; giving help to others.”

Auxiliary member Anita Balde said, “My dad was a member for many years; Julio “Jay” Balde.  They helped my mom a lot, so I pitch in where I can.” Jay Balde died at the age of 96 on Feb. 7 of this year.

NVERS members all had the same thing in common wanting to give back to the town they were born and raised in or live in and the want to help others. To become a volunteer or to donate to NVERS visit nutleyrescue.org or call 973 667-7487.

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