PATERSON, NJ- "I appreciate you." With that simple phrase Dr. Lilisa Mimms, Commissioner, Paterson Board of Education, and an announced candidate for Paterson City Council in 2018, kicked off her 12th annual breakfast last week. This year’s, for the second year in a row, was held under the title “Breakfast of Champions”, and saluted several leaders in the Paterson community.

The Saturday event at The Brownstone attracted nearly 400 guests including Congressman Bill Pascrell; Passaic County Freeholders Assad Akhter, John Bartlett, Bruce James and Sandi Lazzara; Acting Mayor Ruby Cotton; Acting Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer; and Ambassador Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee for Governor.

"Service is something you can never do enough of," said Paterson Police Lieutenant Dalton Price who emceed the event. His sentiments, along with his philosophy that “you can never help enough people,” became a common theme as speaker after speaker took to the podium, sharing their vision of Paterson’s future.

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Eileen Shafer, Acting Superintendent, used her time at the podium to tell the story of the man who walked along the beach, attempting to save starfish that had washed up on the shoreline. In response to the lament of his companion that the effort was futile and wouldn't’t make an impact on the hundreds of creatures that lay on the beach, the man, placing one back in among the waves replied simply “it made a difference to that one.” This, Shafer suggested, is a reminder that whether “one or many” are helped the effort is meaningful.

The event’s honorees included individuals who have made their mark in business, community, education, and philanthropy. Bronze Heat, the Paterson chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, and the Islamic Center of Passaic County were also recognized.

All, Mimms suggested, were proof that “we can do better”, the driving force, she said, of her campaign for Council.