PATERSON, NJ - Mayor Andre Sayegh marked the end of Hispanic Heritage Month Thursday by showing his gratitude to five community leaders, including four Paterson employees, that he said made incredible contributions to local residents over the past six months by continuing to make sure municipal services continued.
Maria Christa Beltre, whom was referred to in a ceremonial resolution as “a dependable employee who never calls out.” Beltre immigrated to the United States at just six-years-old and would go on to attend Public School 10, Paterson Catholic High, and Passaic County Community College where she majored in accounting. Beltre currently works in the tax office.
Iverlyn “Ivy” Rodriguez came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico and was celebrated as both an integral part of the Legal Department as well as a mother who “dedicated her life to her family.” A teen mother, Rodriguez, in addition to many other community service activities, also serves as a volunteer at Lighthouse Pregnancy Center.
Pascual “Pat” Nieves was born and raised in Paterson and, for the past 26 years has been an employee with the Department of Public Works. In his current position Nieves oversees the maintenance of six city buildings. A father of three, Pascual has also served the city as a constable and been a volunteer with the Puerto Rican Day Festival.
Born in Lima, Peru, Guillermo Garcia worked in labor negotiations in his homeland which brought him death threats necessitating his move to the U.S. in the 1980s. Garcia would go on to join the U.S. Army and serve his new country from 1989-1996. After going on to serve in the National Guard in New Jersey, Garcia became a business owner when he opened Luigi’s, a liquor store in Passaic County. Garcia’s career in the supermarket industry progressed, and he is now, in addition to being the President of the Peruvian Parade, the Executive Director of ShopRite Supermarket of Passaic and Clifton and the ShotRite Wines & Spirits of Clifton.
Antonio “Tony” Diaz is the Chief of Apparatus for the Paterson Fire Department and, as Mayor Andre Sayegh tagged him Thursday, a “COVID conqueror.” The 51-year-old started to feel sick on April 10, but, based on his symptoms, figured it was the flu. “I had chills, discomfort in my bones and was cold,” he said. “But, by Monday the 13th, I started to look for a doctor to get checked and I called out of work. My record shows I never call out, so when I did, my fire chief, Brian McDermott, started worrying.” In a conversation with TAPinto Paterson after he was released to applause Diaz credited “A positive mood and fire star medical treatment” for his recovery.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.