200 Club presents awards to county’s finest police and firefighters

BELLEVILLE, NJ — The 200 Club of Essex County, founded to assist the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty and the oldest such organization of its kind, will hold its 50th anniversary Valor Awards luncheon on Thursday, May 5, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Nanina’s In The Park, 540 Mill St. in Belleville.

Established in 1966, The 200 Club of Essex County has raised nearly $2 million to support the spouses of fallen officers and to fund scholarships for their children through membership dues and the annual luncheon.

The 200 Club of Essex County, comprised of regional business and civic leaders, has spawned 18 similar organizations throughout New Jersey. Lori Hennon-Bell, vice president and chief security officer for Prudential Financial and The 200 Club president said in a release, “This special organization is dedicated to the principle of caring for those who care for us. Each year, our support from business and community leaders has dramatically increased.”

“The job of a police officer or firefighter is tougher today than ever before,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, a member of The 200 Club’s board of trustees, said in the release. “Law enforcement and firefighting are extremely hazardous professions, which are performed at tremendous personal risk. The work of The 200 Club of Essex County is greatly appreciated by the entire public safety community and their families.”

According to Hennon-Bell, 17 law enforcement officers and 12 local firefighters will be recognized for bravery, dedication to duty, courageous vigilance and selflessness with individual Valor Awards during the luncheon.

John Miller, deputy commissioner for the NYPD’s Division of Intelligence and counterterrorism, will serve as the event’s featured speaker. Miller, a former national spokesman for the FBI, is also the winner of 11 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards and two DuPont Awards during his distinguished career in television journalism. Miller began that career as a student attending Montclair High School.

Additionally, The 200 Club will present its John P. McLaughlin Award to Arthur S. Guida, former 200 Club president and former vice president for external affairs for PSE&G, for his outstanding service to the organization.

Nominations for The 200 Club’s Valor Award are made by chiefs of Essex County’s municipal fire and police departments and the commanding officers of federal, state and regional public safety agencies. Valor Award recipients are selected by The 200 Club’s Executive Committee.

This year’s individual Valor Award recipients are:

  • Newark Police Sgt. Matthew Ruane, Newark Police detectives Ana Colon and Tyrell Wheeler, Essex County Sheriff’s Det. Abdullah Holmes and NJIT Police Sgt. Antoine Hughes for the capture of two armed suspects who opened fire on them on a city street;
  • Newark Police detectives Juan Ramos and Wyhidi Wilson for the capture of an armed suspect;
  • Newark Police Det. Glen Calderon for single-handedly capturing two armed suspects during a robbery in progress;
  • Irvington Police Patrolman Edward Pearce for single-handedly capturing a gun-wielding suspect;
  • New Jersey State Police Det. II Anthony Giunta, Det. II Edward Schmalz and Trooper Blazej Oczkos for the capture of a kidnapping and attempted murder suspect and the rescue of the 3-year-old victim;
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office detectives Eric Manns, Carlos Olmo and Kenneth Poggi for the capture of two homicide suspects;
  • South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll and Det. Steven Davenport for the capture of an armed robbery suspect;
  • North Caldwell Fire Lt. Lee Sutherlin and Firefighter David Hicock for successfully evacuating a large residential complex and the rescue of an unconscious 88-year-old female victim during a natural gas leakage event;
  • Newark Fire captains Delfin Ortiz and Mark Furka and Firefighter Derek Hunter for the rescue of three adults and four children from a residential fire;
  • Newark Fire Capt. Frank Fonseca and firefighters Michael Bellina, Tony DeFeo, Carlo Dello Russo and Carlos Henriques for the rescue of an unconscious pregnant female and her two unconscious children from a residential fire; and
  • Newark Fire Capt. Carl Wendt and Firefighter Raymond Hatton for the rescue of three children from a residential fire.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact 973-694-4982.