PATERSON, NJ- While small groups of men congregating on city street corners during the late night hours is often seen as a harbinger to criminal activity, the consequences are not always so dire, TAPinto Paterson learned Thursday.
“We’re not hanging out for the wrong reasons,” Lamound Walker said. “We have jobs, it’s the only time we get to see each other.”
Walker was one of seven men honored Thursday by Councilwoman Dr. Lilisa Mimms with lunch at JonJax Restaurant for their life saving efforts in the early hours of Saturday.
Doing nothing more than enjoying each other’s company soon after midnight, Jerome Alexander recalled, a woman ran down 10th Avenue alerting them to the house fire just blocks away.
That’s when Alexander, Walker, and seven others jumped into action.
“We tried to run in the back door but it was too hot,” Alexander said. “So we knocked down the gate and they jumped from the attic window,” to the rescuer's waiting arms, he added of the two residents inside at the time.
Asked about their newfound status as “heroes” Walker said that he only did what he hopes “others would do for my kids.”
Not as fast to dismiss their actions as “nothing special” is Mimms who organized the gathering because “it’s important to celebrate an outstanding job.”
“These are amazing men from our community,” she said. “They have shown again that we are better together.”
As the men ordered their meals Mimms, considering this reporter’s question about the occurrence of groups congregating, said that “we have to stop being judgmental.”
“These men know their community, they know their neighbors, let’s acknowledge them as people, let’s work with them to make Paterson better.”
Also recognized were Durel Foster, Raymer Prince, Jayvon Barrett, Demetrius McCutchen, Anton Porter, Omar Grady, David Minor.