County honors residents of Italian-American heritage

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
At the 2018 Essex County Italian-American Heritage Month celebration on Friday, Oct. 19, are, from left, honoree Deborah DelVecchio, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and honoree Philip B. Alagia.

NEWARK, NJ — For the 2018 Essex County Italian-American Heritage Month celebration on Friday, Oct. 19, the lobby of the Essex County Hall of Records was decorated in the festive Italian colors of red, white and green. The lobby was a standing-room only backdrop for the cultural event, at which Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo recognized Essex County Chief of Staff Philip B. Alagia and Chrill Care Director of Operations Deborah DelVecchio as “Stellas della Contea di Essex,” or “Stars of Essex County.” The honor recognizes them for their commitment to improving the lives of all residents and their community involvement.

“Our celebration is an opportunity to recognize the contributions that Italian Americans have made to the history and culture of Essex County. Today, we are honoring two proud Italian-Americans who have positively impacted our world and our county,” DiVincenzo said. “Phil Alagia and Deborah DelVecchio each have made an impact on their communities and have continuously improved the quality of life for our residents.”

Alagia, a resident of Roseland, has served as Essex County chief of staff since 2003, and oversees the Essex County Department of Corrections and the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center. Alagia is a member of the board of directors of the Robert Treat Academy, which has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school. He also serves on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board and the Military Park Partnership Board. Alagia is a member of the board of trustees for Project Pride Inc., where he helped organize the Pride Bowl Football game. Project Pride has raised more than $4 million to support academic enrichment programs, recreational activities and college scholarships for the children of Newark. In addition, Alagia is the founder of the New Jersey Pride Softball Organization. The organization is a nationally recognized softball program for girls, which has sent hundreds of players to college on softball scholarships. Alagia coached the Newark Project Pride Softball Team to the first National Championship of the Major League Baseball-Sponsored RBI Program.

“I want to thank Joe D. not just for today, but for all the years we have been together. There have been times when we’ve gotten mad at each other, but I’m always excited to come to work. We’ve had a great ride together,” Alagia said.

Deborah DelVecchio, a resident of Cedar Grove, is the director of operations at Chrill Care, where she oversees the daily operations of the company and ensures its mission to provide quality home care services to individuals and families threatened by illness is met. Previously, DelVecchio was a senior administrative analyst at the Essex County Division of Senior Services. There, she aided seniors and disabled individuals by advising them on the services available at Essex County. In addition, DelVecchio has been a member of the board of trustees for RWJ Clara Maass Foundation, member of the board of trustees for Essex County College, chairwoman of the Verona Democratic Committee, and currently chairwoman of the North Caldwell Democratic Committee.

“I first started working for Essex County when I was 17 years old, left to concentrate on my family’s business and returned to Essex County to work for the best Essex County executive. Joe really knows how to get things done and it was an honor to work with you,” DelVecchio said.

Father Paul Donohue from St. Lucy’s Church in Newark gave the invocation. Jasmine Ramos from the Essex County Clerk’s Office sang the national anthem. Julian Hernandez performed during the musical interlude.