Maplewood Police Officers, Firefighters to be Honored at 56th Annual Valor Awards Luncheon

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From the Essex County Sheriff’s Office:

The Two Hundred Club of Essex County, which was founded in 1966 to assist the families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, and is the oldest such organization of its kind, will hold its 56th Annual Valor Awards luncheon on Tuesday, May 10, at Nanina’s in the Park, 540 Mill St. Belleville. The cocktail reception will begin at 11:30 am. Tickets for the annual Two Hundred Club Valor Awards luncheon are available. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact 973-694-4982.

Since its inception, The Two Hundred Club of Essex County has raised over $2 million to support the spouses of fallen officers and fund college scholarships for their children. 

According to Lori A. Hennon-Bell, President of The Two Hundred Club, 28 police officers and 16 firefighters will be recognized for bravery, dedication to duty, courageous vigilance, and selflessness during the Valor Awards luncheon.

“While everyone was at home working virtually for the past two years because of the pandemic, these fine police officers, firefighters, and first responders did not have that luxury, they had to show up – the public expected them to show up, protect, and respond to their calls for service. Thankfully, and without regard to their own safety, they responded magnificently,” stated Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, a member of The Two Hundred Club’s Board of Trustees. 

Nominations for The Two Hundred Club’s Valor Awards are made by the chiefs of Essex County’s municipal and fire departments and the commanding officers of federal, state, and regional public safety agencies. Valor Award recipients are selected by The Two Hundred Club’s Executive Committee. 

Since the Valor Awards were not awarded in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s Valor Awards will include actions taken in 2020 and 2021. For a full list of recipients call 973-621-4108.

List of Award Recipients:

Maplewood Fire Department Firefighters Anthony Marinello, Anthony Pafumi, and James Richardella for saving a life after taking swift actions, under very dangerous fire conditions;

Maplewood Police Officer Adrian Verdun for exhibiting complete disregard for his own safety and wellbeing while saving others from a house fire; 

Bloomfield Fire Department Firefighters Thomas Laicona and Jacob Nicolaou, and Captain David Parsons for jumping into about 5 feet of rapidly rising floodwaters, in full turnout gear to rescue a victim stuck in a car that was within 6 inches of being fully submerged underwater, where the victim would not have survived had it not been for their swift thinking and actions;

East Orange Police Lt. Marilyn Berrouet and Sgt. Keanna Thorne for their initiative, immediate reaction, and coordinated effort to save a suicidal male and allow him to be referred to an appropriate crisis center;

Essex County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Bozios, Det. Dominick Petrucci, and Det. Erik Udvarhely, for their total disregard for their own safety when they chased, subdued, and disarmed a driver and passenger in a stolen vehicle of a weapon and monetary proceeds from prior robberies, thus thwarting a drive-by shooting and robbery crime wave the actors were perpetuating; 

Essex Sheriff’s Office Detectives Victor Brown and Habbaah Evans for using their keen observation to immediately intercede and thwart serious injury and potential loss of life due to a road rage incident involving weapons;

Fairfield Police Lt. Frank Tracey, officers Kevin Chen and James Ciampi, and Wayne Police Lt. Robert Franco, for heroically, in the face of danger, chasing an actor from Mountain Lakes to Wayne, who later exited the vehicle with a gun pointed at the officers, where the officers acted immediately by firing at the threat;

Glen Ridge Det. Matthew Perigo for his quick response and restraint in stopping a fight involving weapons among actors that saved the lives of two victims and resulted in the capture of the assailant;

Irvington Police Sgt. Stanton Holder and Det. Juan Owens for showing great restraint while facing an armed actor and recovering narcotics and a weapon;

Irvington Fire Division Lt. Glen Sheaffer for entering a smoke-filled basement, prior to the hose line being charged, to rescue a disoriented victim and bring her up the stairs and over to EMS for transport to the hospital;

Livingston Fire Department Chief Christopher C. Mullin and Livingston Police Officer Matthew DeBiasse for saving multiple people including two civilians, three police officers, and one assistant fire chief from raging waters caused by Tropical Storm Ida, without the benefit of any formal rapid water rescue training, equipment, or specialized gear;

Newark Fire Division Captains Jose Cantara and Dayon Cobbs for displaying bravery, where they applied their training by conducting a quick and thorough primary search during an apartment fire under worsening conditions, all before hose lines and water were applied to the fire, and safely removing a victim and transferring him to EMS for transport to the hospital;

Newark Fire Division Captain Francisco DeOliveira, and Firefighters Eduardo Pinto and Joseph Ventura for walking up to a seventh-floor fire with near zero visibility, while wearing full turnout gear, without a protective hose line, and rescuing a badly burned man by carrying him down seven floors where he was turned over to EMTs for treatment;

Newark Fire Division Firefighters James Hubbard and Rashon Loggins for saving a life and transferring the victim to EMS, under extremely hazardous fire conditions;

Newark Police Detectives Gabriel Serrano, Nicholas Edert, Ricardo Macieira, Dwayne Mays, Jr, Jared Mickens, and Qadiryyah Marshall of the Criminal Intelligence Section for showing courage, diligence, and fearlessness when working together as a cohesive unit to disarm an actor who was shooting at them, while never drawing their own weapons because of the close proximity of civilians; 

Nutley Fire Department Firefighter Vincent Lehman, and Captain William Vonroth for exemplifying extreme courage by going straight into the flow path to search for victims trapped due to a fire and saving a life; and

West Orange Police Officer Christopher Hernandez for his selfless actions and dedication to duty, while when off duty he tried to stop a robbery where he sustained a head injury, and a countywide description of the actor resulted in capture.

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