UNION, NJ – Community members came together Saturday morning at the “Drinks for Jerry” event in memory of Jeremy Maraj at Irene Hoppe Park on Galloping Hill Road, near the site of the hit and run accident that claimed his life last month

“This is an incredible gesture from the community,” said Ricky Maraj, Jeremy’s father.  “Everyone has been so supportive to our family and it’s been amazing.  I cannot thank everyone enough.”

Organized by neighbor Elizabeth Zembilis, the event included donated items such as store baked cookies from ShopRite, baked goods from Pinho’s Bakery, muffins and wrapped caramel candy from The Ritz Diner, and frozen yogurt from Yo Addiction.  “We wanted to do something in Jerry’s memory,” said Zembilis.  “Our goal is to raise enough money to plant a tree and purchase a bench at Washington Elementary School.  “Jerry loved Washington School,” said Zembilis.  “We thought this would be nice.”  Zembilis said any leftover money will be donated to Walk In Sunshine, a charity based in Westfield whose premise is to help parents both financial and spiritually who have lost young children. 

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“Whenever I drive by here, I almost come to tears,” said Louis who attended the event with his wife and two small children.  “It’s a heartbreaking situation and we wanted to be here for the family.”

“So many people have come out to remember this brave young man,” said Union’s Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio.  “His organ donations have saved a lot of lives.  It’s great to see the town come out to support this.”

Neighbors, classmates, Union police officers and fire fighters, and community members all came together to remember Jeremy and donate in his memory.  “We are all very humbled and touched by the extreme generosity and support that our community has shown today,” added Zembilis.