HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Hackensack Riverkeeper bestowed its 2016 honors at the organization's 17th annual Awards Celebration & Sustainable SeafoodFest on Thursday.
Each year Riverkeeper singles out for recognition individuals and institutions that exemplify the clean water advocate's commitment to clean water and a healthy environment.
"The work we do always requires a heavy lift – the kind we cannot do alone," explained Capt. Bill Sheehan. "Working to protect our environment and its waterways is a long-term, full-time job for which we happily honor two of our dedicated co-workers."
Hackensack Riverkeeper's 2016 awardees are Demarest Mayor Raymond Cywinski, with the Excellence in Public Service Award; and Hackensack Meridian Health (Hackensack University Medical Center), with the Corporate Environmental Stewardship Award.
Cywinski was honored for his long-standing personal and professional commitment to conservation and clean water, and for serving as a fine example of a dedicated public servant who is concerned with his constituents' quality of life and their shared environment. In addition to serving in his second term as mayor of his community, Cywinski has enjoyed a long, effective career as watershed manager at SUEZ New Jersey.
Robert Garrett, president and co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
"In addition to being a good corporate citizen, (it) is a leader in green, sustainable practices throughout every facet of the medical center's operation," organizers noted. Many of those practices were pioneered by the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, which is now in its 15th year at HackensackUMC.
Dignitaries attending the event included U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, Assemblyman Robert Auth, Westwood Mayor John Birkner, Oradell Mayor Diane Didio, Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz, New Milford Mayor Ann Subrizi and River Edge Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy.
As in previous years, the celebration featured special guest host Brian Thompson, New Jersey correspondent for NBC-4 New York. Event sponsors included SUEZ, HackensackUMC, Inserra Supermarkets, PSE&G, Ramsey Outdoor and Xchange at Secaucus Junction, and Whole Foods Market underwrote the evening's featured fare of sustainably harvested seafood.
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