UNION, NJ – A dedication ceremony honoring the memory of Jeremy Dylan Maraj will be held on Saturday, October 19, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Irene Hoppe Park.
The basketball court at the park will be dedicated to Maraj, who was 12 years old when he died on July 19 after sustaining severe injuries in a hit-and-run accident that occurred on Galloping Hill Road on July 17.
To honor Maraj's memory, neighbor Elizabeth Zembilis organized the dedication ceremony, with support from local officials. A bench, trees, and a plaque will be installed by the township. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
The dedication was made possible through the proceeds raised during the “Drinks for Jerry” fundraiser on August 11. Zembilis, who lives next door to the Maraj family, said,“ This is, and always has been, about honoring and remembering an extraordinary child. Jeremy brought a smile to everyone’s face. It didn’t matter if you were a child, an adult, or an elder — Jeremy knew how to brighten your day. I wanted to organize something that would allow his legacy to live on and inspire others.”
The “Drinks for Jerry” fundraiser raised enough funds to also have a bench installed later this year at Washington School, where Jeremy attended elementary school. The remaining proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to Walk In Sunshine, a charity based in Westfield whose premise is to help parents who have lost young children both financially and spiritually.
“The overwhelming support and generosity of our community will help ensure that other children, families, and community members continue to recognize and remember Jeremy,” said Zembilis. “I am grateful that the township and its officials were so supportive when I approached them with these ideas.”
Irene Hoppe Park is located at1025 Galloping Hill Road.