LIVINGSTON, NJ — Upon the retirement of longtime Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) and RWJBarnabas Health employee Louis LaSalle, the Township of Livingston honored his contributions to the community with small ceremony outside the SBMC Community Field on Madonna Drive, which was a long-awaited project that LaSalle played an integral part in.
Mayor Shawn Klein noted that although the council could have honored LaSalle, a resident of Roseland, during a Zoom ceremony at the next township council meeting as it has done with many retiring community leaders in the past, doing so with LaSalle’s “warm smile" in person in front of a field that is “in part a product of the close relationship” between the township and SBMC “just made sense.”
“Speaking to several past mayors about Lou, they unanimously said—and the council here can attest—that Lou has come to everything for Livingston,” said Klein. “Galas, golf tournaments, fundraisers and council meetings, he has been here.”
Noting that LaSalle also served as a longtime member and board member of the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce, Klein added that the governing body “cannot help but feel that [LaSalle] has been dedicated” to the Livingston community for many years despite being a Roseland resident.
“[Former mayor] Steve Santola pointed out that in many towns where hospitals are located, the town government does not get along with the hospital or its executives,” said Klein. “It's a kind of town-and gown-type thing where hospitals and towns don't get along, don’t work together. That’s not how it has been here.
“Historically, Saint Barnabas and Livingston have worked together to achieve the goals of both. Lou has been a huge part of holding that relationship together, and the relationship has been hugely beneficial to us both.”
Current councilman and former mayor Rudy Fernandez also pointed out that LaSalle’s close friendship with Ernest Camuso—a former Livingston resident who is remembered for starting the holiday display that is now a treasured Livingston tradition—is a primary reason why the Camuso Holiday Display continues to act as a source of fundraising for the SBMC Burn Center.
“A deep well of trust and close personal relationships are part of what, repeatedly and in the end, makes the bond between Livingston and Saint Barnabas so enduring and effective,” said Klein. “We thank Lou LaSalle for his hard work to make this so."
LaSalle began his career at SBMC in 1990 as Vice President of External Affairs and was named Senior Vice President in 2013. In 2017, LaSalle became the Senior Vice President of Corporate Executive Affairs for RWJBarnabas Health.
As a resident of Roseland, LaSalle has served as chair of the Roseland Planning Board and is a former member of the Roseland Borough Council.
His community service efforts have been ongoing for nearly 60 years, beginning with his service to the Northern New Jersey division of the American Heart Association (AHA). He has also been devoted to and held leadership positions in the Essex County Parks Foundation, the North Essex Chamber of Commerce (NECC) and the North Jersey Division of the American Red Cross. LaSalle also chaired the Essex County “Save the Turtle Back Zoo” Committee.
Throughout his career, LaSalle has received numerous awards, including the AHA Lifetime Achievement Award, the NECC “Outstanding Community Leader Award” and the NJBIZ Icon Award, to name a few.
“Saint Barnabas Medical Center was fortunate to have Louis LaSalle on our team,” said Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of SBMC. “He worked tirelessly to enhance the health and well-being of Livingston and the surrounding communities. His energy, enthusiasm and dedication are second to none. We wish him best regards and good health in his retirement.”
Stating that LaSalle often refers to Livingston as his “adopted town,” the Livingston Township Council presented him with an official citation in recognition of his contributions to the Livingston community and congratulated him on his retirement.
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