CarePoint Health hosted their first North Hudson Community Awards Reception on Tuesday evening, honoring five individuals they’ve identified as leaders in their communities.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner served as the emcee for the evening, having a sense of humor when introducing each honoree, including Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
“When you have to bring back parks, when you have to solve fiscal problems, when you have to work night and day to save Hoboken hospital,” began Turner.
“When you have to have 1,229 meetings on restore, resist and delay to prevent the next flood, Mayor Zimmer is [from] the community meeting capital of the world.”
After accepting her award, Zimmer said saving the Hoboken University Medical Center was the toughest challenge she encountered in her two terms as mayor.
“It’s funny, when I reflect on my eight years as mayor and people ask me ‘what’s been the most difficult thing that you’ve been through?,’ they always expect me to say Sandy, and, quite frankly, saving this hospital, saving Hoboken University Medical Center was the most difficult process that I’ve ever been through,” recalled Zimmer.
“It was just such a challenge for me to try and persuade the community that this was … privatizing the hospital was the only way to save it. People don’t want me to talk about it but taking it through bankruptcy and the entire process was really, really, extremely challenging.”
Another recipient was Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation Executive Director Carol Mori, who said she would not be able to provide opportunities for those less fortunate without a great team around her.
“More importantly, I think that our organization is able to do the work that we do because I am very, very luck to have such talented and dedicated staff working with me,” stated Mori.
North Bergen CARES Coordinator Aimee Focaraccio thanked CarePoint for their support, which has allowed their program to expand and improve.
Additionally, Alan Lopez, the owner of the Rumba Cubana restaurants, kept his remarks succinct.
“I just want to say to those who are helping Rumba Cubana throughout the community, for any help that we could do it, I’ve seen so many faces here that we usually do an event with when they need it, we work as a family,” said Lopez.
The final honoree was Weehawken Township Manager Gio Ahmad, who is also a captain of the Township’s Volunteer First Aid Squad, who dedicated most of his speech to thanking mentors and co-workers.
The event was hosted at the Chart House Restaurant and Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo and Guttenberg Councilman Wayne Zitt were in attendance of the crowd of about 100 people.