Bergen County officials hosted a dinner Thursday to thank first responders for their service during Hurricane Sandy.
Thousands of residents lost electrcity for days after heavy winds brought down trees and power lines, and residents around Moonachie, Little Ferry and Hackensack experienced serious flooding after a levy broke.
"Bergen County has never seen a storm of this magnitude," Fair Lawn Mayor Jeanne Baratta said. "We're still rebuilding."
Officials hosted a dinner at the Bergen County Police and Fire Academy in Mahwah Thursday night. They presented commemorative gifts to the attendees and all the county's first responders will receive "Superstorm Sandy" patches.
"Everybody coming together was truly extraordinary," County Executive Kathleen Donovan said.
Among the recipients was Ramsey Police Capt. Raymond Bailey, who suffered severe back and neck injuries when a tree fell on him as he responded to the hurricane.
First responders from around the county recalled rushing to dozens of calls during the storm.
"It was chaotic," Ramsey firefighter Nick Krazit said. "You just did what you had to do."
Washington Township Fire Chief Jamie Powell said he and his fellow volunteers were out for 24 hours responding to calls for carbon monoxide, downed wires and trees that fell on houses. Powell, who was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, said some of the damage in areas like Carlstadt reminded him of that storm.
Other residents were also recognized for helping out after the storm. In Westwood, Francis Yates organized a soup kitchen with donations from the Tremble family, owners of the Iron Horse restaurant. In Wyckoff, the Powerhouse Christian Church and the Christian Health Care Center both hosted shelters for displaced residents.
"It was a real team effort," CHCC Executive Director Doug Struyk said.
Attendees said they were glad that the county was recognizing their efforts, even if every emergency responder could be there.
"The guys deserve all the credit for the tremendous work they've done," River Edge DPW Superintendent John Lynch said.
The full list of recipients, with citations from the County Executive's Office:
Dentist ~ Bergen County Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer
Mark volunteered to work in two of the shelters open in Bergen County during Sandy. He helped set up the shelter in Teterboro that accepted residents who were flooded out in the towns along the Hackensack River. He also worked at and helped close the medical needs shelter at the Bleshman School.
EMT ~ Bergen County Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer
Pauline worked the Bergen County shelter at the Juvenile Detention Center in Teterboro and also worked at the medical needs shelter at the Bleshman School. At both shelters she agreed to work the hard to fill evening to midnight shifts and brought her compassion and caring to the residents in those shelters.
Registered Nurse ~ Bergen County Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer
Kim worked at the medical needs shelter at the Bleshman School. She worked the unpopular midnight to 4 AM shift and was extremely eager to help as much as she could. It was only her inability to find gasoline, despite a heroic search by her and her husband, and the shelter closing, that prevented her from working more. She even volunteered to work the night shift and then go to her job as school nurse in the morning.
Chief Jerry Beckman
Alpine Police Department
Chief Beckman was on duty almost non-stop before, during and for six days after the storm. In addition to overseeing the efforts of the Police Department, he kept the residents informed with daily updates on the Borough's Emergency Notification System.
Chief H. Josh Schneeweiss
Deputy Chief Charles Hoffman
Alpine Volunteer Fire Department
Along with members of their department, Chief Schneeweiss & Deputy Chief Hoffman gave many hours of their time during and after the storm helping residents and assisting utility company personnel while the town was without power.
Alpine DPW Superintendent
Mr. Wehmann worked alongside his department to keep roads open during the storm and to clear massive amounts of storm debris in the weeks thereafter.
Bogota EOM Coordinator
Tito did an outstanding job as the EMC before, during and after the storm. He spend all his time at the Emergency Operations Center, constantly updating the residents as to school closings, parking rules and overall safety.
Bogota Emergency Operations Center Scribe
Anna was instrumental in assisting and staffing the E.O.C. She spent countless hours manning phones and recording damaged property and kept a record of the hours put in by the volunteers.
Bogota Auxiliary Police Officer
Raul spent countless hours as keeping the peace at the gas stations and manning the E.O.C.
Carlstadt OEM Coordinator
Mr. Lopez worked diligently long hours with the residents of Carlstadt to provide shelter & food during the storm and relocated businesses in the industrial area affected by flooding. He was also very involved with first responders to make sure that they had enough food supplies and adequate resources to remain in their headquarters.
Carlstadt Deputy OEM Coordinator
Mr. Wejsa worked with and supported Mr. Lopez on all of the tasks mentioned. He supervised shelters and maintained Carlstadt's food bank so it was available at a moment’s notice. He also helped the residents that needed to be evacuated and transported them to the shelter.
Sun Chemical Operations Director
Mr. Patti was very important in administering the shelter, day after day, by directing his staff to do whatever was needed by the Borough OEM. He worked long nights to make sure his building was optimally utilized; from the kitchen to the generator, all amenities of the building were made available to help Carlstadt residents.
Stewart DeVito,Cliffside Park OEM Coordinator
Chief Donald Keane,Cliffside Park Police Department
Matt Halton, Cliffside Park OEM
These three gentleman are being honored for maintaining high professionalism and endurance under adverse conditions. They put in long hours to ensure the safety and welfare of Cliffside Park residents, first responders and employees. They are still hard at work today getting the borough back on its feet.
James Winters, Closter OEM Chairperson
Kevin Whitney, Closter OEM Deputy Chairperson
Jim and Kevin were on duty 24/7 during the entire emergency. Jim coordinated all the activities of the police department and the other borough agencies, kept track of the problem areas, and provided any information available in timely fashion. Kevin backed him up, but should also be commended for having prepared a command center at the Fire House, which enhanced the borough's communications and access to Orange and Rockland.
Chief Dennis Kaine
Closter Police Department
Chief Kaine was on duty at Borough Hall, and throughout the borough streets 24/7 during the entire emergency. His cool, conscientious leadership kept all the cogs moving to their best ability.
Closter DPW Supervisor
Billy was on duty during the entire emergency, directing his crew, and going out himself. He earned outstanding cooperation from contractors in the Borough, and cleared the roads so well for the O&R crews that Closter was the first municipality in the area to get power back.
Chief Nick Varni
Closter Fire Department
Chief Varni remained on duty at the command center during the entire emergency - except when he was out on one of the very numerous fire calls. Because of the power outage, residents' fire alarms went off constantly, but all those "false alarms" had to be responded to. Nick is an unpaid volunteer.
Chief, Demarest Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Chief Hoag coordinated volunteer ambulance corps members to cover all shifts for calls, spent over 60 hours at Borough Hall for response duty along with checking on residents in their homes.
Demarest Community Emergency Response Team
Conducted checks on residents on the emergency check list, assisted in clearing trees blocking roads and donated a television used at Borough Hall for residents.
Dumont Police Department
Days prior to the storm, Lt. Conner began making the appropriate preparations that would be necessary for the Police Department and OEM to function efficiently, such as acquiring supplies, organizing the schedules and assignments for the members of the Police Department and Dumont Police Reserves. In addition, he maintained an open line of communication with the Superintendent of Schools both prior to and during the event itself. As always, throughout Lt. Conner’s career, the majority of the time spent on the attention to his duty went and continues to go without compensation and regard for his own personal life.
Dumont Zoning Official, Fire Official, Code Enforcement Official
Steve is in the building department and also serves as the town fire inspector. Once the storm hit, Steve was there for every tree that came down on residents’ property. At least three of those trees made homes uninhabitable. He is also a member of the Fire Department and assisted in helping residents that were trapped by the downed trees. He worked tirelessly throughout the duration of the storm.
Ellen Zamechansky, Councilman
Donna Faulborn, Senior Citizen Coordinator
Danielle Mastricova, Dumont Resident
For their extreme passion and empathy toward the displaced and powerless residents in the Borough during the storm, they organized food collection, distributed the food, and attempted to provide comfort and supplies for anyone who was in need.
Sgt. Mark Savino
OEM Coordinator & Emerson Police Department
Sgt. Savino managed and implemented Emerson’s emergency management response in the most dedicated, vital and professional manner. His leadership, preparation and communication skills are key elements to his success and were consistently demonstrated during the days leading up to and during the actual storm. Post-storm he has been equally effective in assessing damage, preparing reports and continually identifying ways to improve. His skill and dedication in meeting the challenges of Sandy were consistently of the highest quality. He is the type of leader and communicator that sees problems as opportunities; he not only identifies the problem, he proposes solutions.
Deputy OEM Coordinator & DPW Superintendent
Mr. Solimando is a tireless and dedicated 38+ year employee of the Borough of Emerson. His role during the storm was two-fold: second in command on the Emergency Management Response Team and overseeing and coordinating the entire borough's road effort in preparation for the possible effects on the borough's infrastructures and the clean-up effort afterwards. Mr. Solimando's experience and knowledge were no less essential during this emergency than the commitment, pride and passion he has for the town where he works; but more importantly, the town in which he lives.
Dr. Philip Nisonoff
Emerson Board of Education ~ Acting Superintendent & Business Administrator
Dr. Nisonoff actively participates in Emerson's OEM preparation and planning meetings. He proved to be a valuable and creative teammate during Superstorm Sandy. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, with power outages affecting much of Emerson, the team met to discuss the best way to distribute information to residents. Through the efforts of Dr. Nisonoff and the many volunteers he was able to gather, residents were kept informed through flyers that were distributed door-to-door.
Fair Lawn Deputy OEM Coordinator
Neil was on vacation from his job and served as EOC Manager on overnight shifts. He restored WiFi service during the power failure and responded with Rescue Task Force to Toms River after completing duty in the EOC.
Fair Lawn Shade Tree Supervisor
Mr. Neill coordinated and managed removal of downed trees. All available DPW workers moved to his division. He spent a week sleeping in his office because of long hours worked.
Fairview DPW Superintendent
Under his direction, the DPW worked quickly to remove down trees and branches so that the roadways would be passable for emergency vehicles.
Chief Frank DelVecchio
Fairview Police Department
Chief DelVecchio was instrumental in ensuring the safety of all residents of the Borough. He played a vital role in providing information concerning the storm and making sure residents took necessary precautions to safeguard themselves and their property.
Fairview OEM Coordinator
Mr. Bellucci ensured that there were sufficient supplies and shelters available in different locations of the Borough in the event services were needed during and after the storm. He worked in conjunction with the Police Department, Fire Department, EMT's, and DPW to make sure that the residents were safe and their needs were met
Franklin Lakes OEM Coordinator
Chief Denny Knubel
Franklin Lakes Fire Department
Franklin Lakes Police Department
Haworth OEM Coordinator
Rick did an outstanding job during the storm. He coordinated all the information with Bergen County, was present every day and his volunteer service to the Borough of Haworth is greatly appreciated. His attention to detail is unsurpassed and he is a perfect example of what volunteering is all about.
Haworth DPW Superintendent
As Superintendent, Tom had an enormous responsibility during the storm from responding to emergency calls to clearing roads of fallen trees in the middle of the night, to assessing all the damage and reporting to other Borough officials. He did a great job in coordinating his department during the emergency.
Haworth DPW Foreman
As DPW Foreman, Chris took on many tasks during the storm and was out directing members of the department in debris clearing. He was always cheerful in spite of the many nights with only a few hours of rest. His contribution to the Borough and his hard work during this storm were exceptional.
Hillsdale Borough Administrator
Mr. DeJoseph worked through the day and night coordinating the borough services and needs before, during and after the storm. Jon worked with local, state and county departments to ensure the needs of the borough residents, employees and volunteers.
Chief Chip Stalter
Hillsdale Police Department
Chief Stalter stayed on duty throughout the storm working with the police department and other borough, county and state services to ensure the safety of the borough. After the storm he worked closely with the DPW to ensure the safety of the residents due to downed wires and trees.
Hillsdale Deputy Coordinator
Jon worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of Hillsdale by communicating via email, twitter, and web sites to keep the residents informed and safe. He also kept the lines of communications open between all services and departments to ensure the safety of both the residents and first responders.
Little Ferry Police Department
Little Ferry Fire Department
Little Ferry First Aid Corps
Little Ferry CERT
Office Administrator, Lyndhurst Police Department
Gail was vital in coordinating and communicating with all township departments prior to, during and after the storm. She kept an accounting of all personnel and resources, including making sure all employees and volunteers were fed, assured fuel and other resources were accurately monitored and available. She spent countless hours taking storm related calls while working at the Lyndhurst Emergency Operations Center.
Detective Michael Lemanowicz
Detective Vincent Auteri
Lyndhurst Police Department
Detectives Lemanowicz & Auteri played an integral part in the coordination of Lyndhurst's pre-emergency plan, participated in rescue operations and calls for service during the storm and took a leadership role in coordinating relief efforts for affected residents post-Sandy.
Chief David Pegg
Maywood Police Department
David served throughout the night on the road and in the OEM command center at his own personal risk to ensure roads were clear for DPW, EMS and Fire Department access.
Maywood OEM Director
Chris ran the OEM for Maywood throughout the night. He made sure the Borough was prepared prior to the storm and directed communication throughout the storm. He is also a volunteer firefighter for the Borough of Maywood and employee of Homeland Security.
Maywood Assistant OEM Director
John helped run the OEM for Maywood during and after the storm. He helped organize all emergency departments and DPW as well as communication with the Borough school system. He is a volunteer firefighter with Maywood and a full time firefighter for the City of Hackensack.
Moonachie Police Department
Moonachie Volunteer Fire Department
Moonachie First Aid & Rescue Squad
Kevin Trainor, Jr.
Northvale Volunteer Ambulance Corps
These two individuals are members of the Northvale Volunteer Ambulance Corps. They both would have been away at college, but when news of the storm came, they both came home and wanted to volunteer their time. They spent the day before the storm and through the night at the building so that an Ambulance would be available at a moment’s notice. The day of the storm, they were dispatched to respond to the Moonachie/Little Ferry area to provide transports to Hackensack Hospital.
Northvale Volunteer Fire Department
Prior to the storm, Karl was in charge of preparing food for the department's Octoberfest. When the storm hit, Karl came up with the idea to cancel Octoberfest and go to the Little Ferry Fire Department to prepare the food for firefighters who were working very hard rescuing people, pumping out basements and responding to other calls. Many other members from the Northvale Volunteer Fire Department went with him to bring clothing and blankets that were donated.
Director, Northvale Senior Center
The Northvale Senior Center was used as a shelter for residents who were displaced from their homes due to storm damage or had no heat or electricity. Dolores was there aiding the residents of the borough and spent day and night until everyone returned to their homes.
Oakland OEM Coordinator
Chief Robert Knapp
Oakland Fire Department
Oakland DPW Superintendent
EMT & Officer - Old Tappan Ambulance Corps
Kristel assembled crews for Bergen County OEM and solicited donations for victims, especially for Little Ferry and Moonachie Ambulance Corps.
Oradell Volunteer Fire Department
Park Ridge OEM Director
Capt. Thomas Lepore
Park Ridge Fire Department
Park Ridge Director of Operations
Park Ridge has their own municipally owned and operated electric utility. Bill coordinated the power restoration efforts in town.
Capt. Raymond Bailey
Ramsey Police Department
Under the most adverse conditions, Capt. Bailey secured live electrical wires and posted warnings to the public of dangerous conditions, preventing injury or death to nearby residents. During that time, he was struck and trapped under a fallen tree and sustained extensive injuries while performing his duties.
Ramsey Volunteer Fire Department
Firefighters Duncan & Krazit worked tirelessly to protect the safety of Ramsey residents by aiding in fire emergency calls throughout the storm, including securing areas of live wires on the ground and exploding transformers. Both men were in Fire Squad 451 vehicle that was crushed and destroyed by a tree and utility pole. Miraculously they were able to escape the crushed vehicle without harm.
Capt. Richard Besser
Ridgefield Police Department
Captain Besser was head of operations during storm. He stood as the calming force for the Borough during a very trying time. He was and is a great leader and model to follow.
Chief Michael Kees
Ridgefield Fire Department
Chief Kees was one of the heads of operations going above and beyond to aid residents of Ridgefield and assist other municipalities with Borough equipment and manpower.
Ridgefield Communications Director
Mr. Silvestri made sure all communications were on line and in service. He kept the dialogue open between all services of the Borough and kept residents informed through the Borough website during the height of the storm and aftermath.
River Edge DPW Superintendent
John Lynch is someone who went above and beyond his regular duties. John mobilized his DPW crew in order to clear streets of downed trees and aid in the restoration of power to residents. John worked tirelessly for hours without a break during the height of the storm and is well respected by both his employees and The Mayor and Council.
River Edge OEM Coordinator
Tom was on scene coordinating Police, Fire Department, DPW and Bergen County OEM operations. As well as also being a volunteer firefighter, Tom is an experienced OEM coordinator and kept his cool during the height of the storm. He made himself available to emergency personnel and kept the lines of communication open for all involved.
Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy
Though experiencing her own loss of power for 8.5 days, Councilwoman Murphy spent the first 24 hours of the hurricane at the Firehouse, preparing and cooking meals for members of the Fire Department, DPW and other emergency personnel. She, along with Mayor Moscaritolo, served over 200 meals to River Edge's first responders. She also kept residents abreast of any updates through social media and assisted the OEM in securing a crane for downed trees that needed to be removed from residents’ homes.
Rochelle Park OEM Director
Pete has been Rochelle Park’s OEM Coordinator for over 14 years. His knowledge, experience, dedication and ability to lead have made Rochelle Park's emergency response team a model for others to duplicate. Before Superstorm Sandy, Pete and his team held daily meetings in preparation for the storm. Pete's knowledge, expertise and respect came to the forefront when he was requested to assist at the Bergen County E.O.C. during the storm.
Rochelle Park Deputy OEM Director
Along with Pete, Deputy Director Antista maintained Rochelle Park's E.O.C. around the clock, coordinating efforts to respond and assist residents throughout this historical event.
Rochelle Park CERT Team
Patti, along with other members of the CERT Team, assisted in Teterboro setting up a shelter for the residents of Little Ferry and Moonachie.
Officer Julie Zeigler
Rutherford Police Department
Officer Zeigler was the first to respond to a call that a PSE&G worker was electrocuted while servicing lines in Rutherford following the storm. Officer Zeigler arrived at the scene and began performing life- saving efforts and was able to resuscitate the injured worker.
Rutherford DPW ~ Mechanic Supervisor
The generator at the BCUA had gone down, which could have resulted in massive sewage backups in neighboring communities. Steve circumvented the panel and hard wired the generator to the pumps, which enabled the system to work properly.
Rutherford OEM Coordinator
Paul Dansbach worked tirelessly during the storm providing assistance and updates from County offices as well as coordinating efforts between all municipal services.
Chief Richard Philpott
Tenafly Volunteer Fire Department
Richie spent the week making sure volunteers were prepared and kept safe and that there was always enough manpower to assure the safety of Tenafly residents. The department not only answered dozens of calls each day, but was able to send out men and equipment to Toms River to assist in their hour of need.
Tenafly DPW & Tenafly Volunteer Fire Department
Ken practically lived at the Public Works Department for the better part of a week, supervising staff as well as driving heavy equipment to help keep Tenafly's streets clear and safe. Ken was always the first to arrive and last to leave whenever there was work to be done. The DPW did an outstanding job clearing hundreds of trees from the streets and making sure PSE&G had whatever support they required from the Municipality.
Councilman Anthony Barzelatto
Tenafly OEM Coordinator
Tony hardly ever stopped working during the storm. He helped to coordinate the work of the Police Department, Fire Department and DPW as well as maintaining communication with the County OEM. Tony also served as a conduit with PSE&G. On Saturday evening, when the emergency generator failed at the County Manor Nursing Home, Tony helped to organize the partial evacuation of patients to local hospitals which required not only the Tenafly Volunteer Ambulance Corp but surrounding towns' ambulances as well.
Waldwick Police Department
Waldwick Volunteer Fire Department
Waldwick Ambulance Corps
Waldwick Office of Emergency Management
Wallington OEM Assistant Coordinator
The Borough of Wallington declared a State of Emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. James Furtak took control of the OEM and ordered voluntary evacuations and moving motor vehicles through reverse 911, Nixle and the borough website. Wallington did experience flooding which caused damage due to the fact that three quarters of the town had no power. He continued working with the Mayor in restoring power to the community.
Wallington Assistant Fire Chief
Jacob Hrywniak took control of the fire department, ordering them to standby in each respective firehouse. He provided food and sleeping cots and directed the volunteers as Hurricane Sandy hit. He mobilized the scuba team evacuating residents up until midnight then proceeded to Moonachie to evacuate their residents until 9:00 the next morning.
Wallington Construction/Building Official
Nick Melfi assisted the Office of Emergency Management throughout the storm. He was in constant contact with Public Service restoring power and providing information as to the exact location of downed lines and transformers. He set up emergency generators at local gas stations to fill vehicles for the Police Department and Emergency Responders. He also set up a charging station for residents at Wallington Police Headquarters.
Corporal Saverio Fasciano
Corporal Fasciano coordinated all facets of OEM, to include shelters, fuel deliveries, obtaining supplies for the shelter and working with PSE&G.
Chief Jamie Powell
Washington Township Fire Department
Chief Powell commanded 48 men and coordinated relief efforts, sending men to aid in Moonachie, Little Ferry and Woodcliff Lake. He arranged the transport of seniors to the shelter in Mahwah.
Washington Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps
This is not the first time Christine Murphy, a longtime member of the Washington Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps, went above and beyond the call of duty. She can always be depended on to answer countless emergency calls in all kinds of adverse conditions.
Westwood Fire Code Official/OEM Coordinator
Darren coordinated all emergency response operations, served as liaison with the utility company for power restoration operations and set up overnight warming stations for residents without power.
Volunteer ~ Westwood
Ms. Yates organized, staffed and worked to set up and run a community warming center and soup kitchen. She served over 300 residents in need of a warm meal and a place to go.
Lee Tremble & Sean Tremble
Owners ~ Iron Horse Restaurant, Westwood
Lee & Sean Tremble arranged for the donation of food and supplies for the community warming center and soup kitchen.
Volunteer ~ Woodcliff Lake
During Hurricane Sandy, the Borough opened the Tice Senior Center as a warming and information shelter. Marilyn's individual effort to volunteer even while her house had been severely damaged by a fallen tree, was unselfish and invaluable. Marilyn even went out of her way to make all of our residents feel like "guests" by baking for them at the Tice Center.
Woodcliff Lake OEM Coordinator
From his preparedness meeting days in advance of Hurricane Sandy through the recovery effort, Herb Kuehlke epitomized the unselfish and dedicated work of the first responders, leaving his family and home to assist residents throughout this historic event. Herb could be found at all times at the OEM office overseeing, directing and "steering the ship to recovery." Herb's only breaks were to run home and check on family and refuel his personal portable generator.
Councilwoman Donna Abene
Volunteers ~ Woodcliff Lake
Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, even without power at their own homes, these four ladies, known as "The Fab Four", planned a Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive, collecting truckloads of clothing for hurricane victims and raising over $12,000 for Governor Christie & First Lady Mary Pat Christie's Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Wood-Ridge OEM Coordinator
Mr. Dahl is a longtime volunteer in the Wood-Ridge community who participated in every facet of government during the storm. Paul averaged 18 hours a day for about 7 days straight during and after the storm. He responded with the fire department to down wires, pumped out basements, directed the private tree removal crews, directed traffic for the utility crews, fueled generators for senior citizens, brought meals to folks who lost power, coordinated the lines at gas stations, evacuated the eastern portion of the town (adjacent to Moonachie during the surge) and coordinated the transition of 280 children from the Moonachie Craig School into the Wood-Ridge schools.
Executive Director, Christian Health Care Center
Mr. Struyk graciously provided the Christian Health Care Center as a shelter for 11 days to provide Wyckoff residents with a hot meal, hot shower and overnight shelter.
Reverend Jeff Boucher
Powerhouse Christian Church
Under the leadership of Rev. Boucher, the Powerhouse Christian Church opened their facility for 11 days as a shelter after Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to homes in Wyckoff.
Lt. Dave Murphy
Wyckoff OEM Coordinator
Lt. Murphy coordinated the OEM response in Wyckoff.