County honors Italian Americans at heritage celebration

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
From left are Stellas della Contea di Essex honorees Robert Detore and Courtney Gaccione, with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County celebrated Italian-American Heritage Month on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Essex County Hall of Records. Decorated in the festive Italian colors of red, white and green, the lobby was a standing-room only backdrop for the cultural festivities.

During the event, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. recognized Essex County counsel and adjuster Courtney M. Gaccione, and Turning Point Inc. CEO Robert R. Detore 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. “Courtney Gaccione and Robert Detore each have made an impact on their communities and have continuously improved the quality of life for our residents.”

Gaccione, a long-time resident of Verona who now resides in West Orange, is a seasoned attorney and expert in employment litigation and labor relations. As an 18-year veteran of the Essex County team, she has risen through the ranks, serving as assistant county counsel and chief of labor and employment, prior to assuming the role as Essex County counsel in 2015. In this capacity, Gaccione is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Office of Essex County Counsel, supervising attorneys and staff, and representing Essex County departments and divisions in all legal matters impacting the county. She has served as a seminar speaker for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education multiple times, speaking about Civil Service Disciplinary Actions and leading an administrative law forum. She has also been a member of the New Jersey Association of County Counsels and the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, and has served as the Labor and Employment Committee chairwoman for the New Jersey Bar Association.

“I am so touched by this honor. I am so proud to represent women in the legal field and proud to represent Italians. I have been given an incredible opportunity in my position with the county to have the ability to impact the lives of people every day,” Gaccione said.

Detore, a resident of Verona, currently serves as chief executive officer of Turning Point Inc., a 137-bed, licensed and nationally accredited substance use disorder company providing detox, short-term and long-term residential and outpatient services with facilities in Passaic, Essex, Ocean and Hunterdon counties. He is the founder and former CEO of Correctional Health Services Inc., a major provider of health care services to 17 county juvenile and adult correctional facilities and private correctional facilities in New Jersey. Since 2011, he has served as the president of the board of trustees of the Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark. He is a former board member of Community Education Center LLC, Mellon Bank FSB, Cathedral Healthcare Services Inc., East Orange General Hospital and Wynona M. Lipman Child Advocacy Center. Detore is no stranger to government, serving as the mayor of Verona from 2001 to 2005 and as council president and councilman-at-large in the city of Orange from 1980 to 1988.

“Every immigrant group that arrived in the United States encountered its own set of unique challenges. What is unique about the Italian migration is the importance our heritage placed on family, faith and patriotism,” Detore said.

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