20 “Outstanding” Union Co. Residents Honored by Human Resources Commission


UNION COUNTY, NJ — Fourteen “outstanding” individuals and six organizations have been nominated and selected for their dedicated efforts to promote human rights, human relations and human dignity among the people of Union County.

The 2020 Union County Human Relations Commission honorees received their long-awaited Unity Achievement Awards on Thursday, June 9 at Kean University’s STEM Center in Union Township.

The 19th Annual Presentation was scheduled for May 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out what’s happening in Cranfordwith free real-time Patch updates.

Award categories included achievement by a business enterprise, community organization, non-profit organization, individual, law enforcement officer, government official, student, educator, clergy, faith-based organization, military/veteran, and member of the media.

“The commission is proud to recognize our local role models who are dedicated to helping others and strengthening our communities,” said commissioner co-chair Dr. Martin Dickerson. “These ordinary people are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of others, and the evening’s presentation highlights all the good that is being done in Union County.”

Find out what’s happening in Cranfordwith free real-time Patch updates.

The mission of the Union County Human Relations Commission is to actively encourage, develop, promote and enhance respect for human rights and cultural diversity among the people of Union County.

Here are some of the winners from Cranford, Scotch Plains/Fanwood, Summit and Westfield:


Edward Davenport, the director of Cranford TV-35, was credited for “proving a constant flow of information and, personally, for being an inspiration”.

“While Cranford’s TV-35 doesn’t have movies, ratings or non-stop HBO coverage, it does have one major asset: Ed Davenport, who has been with the station since its inception and is currently its -35 operates 24/7/365, and its audience of more than 350,000 homes enjoys its local programming offerings, which are tailored to Cranford residents and cover local and Union County news and events,” indicates the price description.

Shining Stars Network – a non-profit organization that shines a light on the special needs community – also received a Unity Award Achievement Award by a non-profit organization.

Scottish Plains / Fanwood

Mallory Banks, an alumnus of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Class of 2020, received a Unity Award for raising awareness about autism in her community.

Since she was in third grade, Banks had been committed to autism awareness, according to the award description. She has started several community events, including Rockin’ for Autism, a one-day festival at La Grande Park in Fanwood.

“Mallory is making a huge difference for people affected by autism spectrum disorder and has brought the issue to the forefront in his local community,” the award descriptions read.

Mallory is now a sophomore at the University of Tampa, majoring in psychology and minoring in dance.


Rabbi Avi Friedman of Congregation Ohr Shalom/Summit Jewish Community Center in Summit was recognized for his work serving the Jewish community in Summit, as well as advocating for people with disabilities who face issues of prejudice and stigma every day. prejudice where they live, work and go to school. and socialize.

Friedman came to Summit after spending six years as rabbi of the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh, which the nation became known as the site of the horrific attack one Sabbath morning in October 2018, when 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered by a gunman.

“At this time, and in other tragedies, Rabbi Friedman rallied his neighbors in a call for action. When a shooting occurred at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, worshipers from Ohr Shalom lined the driveway of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge members gathered for their prayer services, to remind them that they are not alone against hate and that they have friends and allies,” reads the award description.


Maureen Mazzarese, Guidance Supervisor at Westfield Public Schools, was recognized for her dedication, determination, creativity and “heartfelt interventions” at Westfield Schools.

According to the UCRHC, Mazzarese has dedicated his entire 30-year career to student balance and well-being, helping thousands of students, parents, families and school staff through a lifetime of education and public service.

She is also a published author and teacher at state universities and for professional organizations.

Dr Derrick Nelson, former principal of Westfield High School, was also recognized for his “selfless sacrifice in compassionate service to others”.

Nelson died in April 2019 after undergoing a bone marrow donation procedure for a 14-year-old boy in France. Nelson fell into a coma during the procedure and died on April 8, 2019.

“Dr. Nelson was a man of immense warmth, character and kindness,” the award description reads. “Dr. Nelson began his career in the corporate sector, but left that job to serve others – for 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, including a deployment to Kuwait in 2013, and as a educator in a public school.

Get more local news straight to your inbox. Sign up for free newsletters and patch alerts.


About Author

Comments are closed.