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By Juliann Weston
When Rochelle Park Mayor Frank Valenzuela was appointed mayor in January, he declared 2014 as the year of the volunteer. During the township committee’s public meeting on Feb. 19, he fulfilled that pledged.
Valenzuela publicly acknowledged the tireless efforts of the many people who work behind the scenes, without getting paid, to make the township a safe and enjoyable place to live.
Valenzuela applauded the 9/11 Memorial Committee members, volunteers, community organizations, including American Legion Post 170, Department of Public Works employees and the businesses of Rochelle Park which made the dream of creating a monument on Rochelle Avenue to honor the tragedy’s victims a reality last year.
“We in Rochelle Park couldn’t do what we do without the support of the volunteers and our civic organizations. If we had to pay for that, we might as all well move to Beverly Hills,” he said as he distributed certificates of appreciation.
“I’ll tell you what; the volunteers of Rochelle Park make Rochelle Park what it is. We’re grateful for the service that they provide.”
The Rochelle Park 9/11 Memorial Committee was comprised of the following volunteers: David Brown, Alfred Carroll, Teresa Judge Cravello, Richard Cravello, Robert Davidson, Virginia DeMaria, Robert Flannelly, Roland Jacobsen, Ron Juliano, Edward O’Dowd, Robert Salvini, Joseph Scarpa, James Schmunk, Roy Spraguer, Chris Sweisberger and Richard Zavinsky.
The Rev. Norbert Laskowski of the Church of the Sacred Heart, who was an original member of the 9/11 Committee, was also given a special mention. Laskowski passed away on Jan. 29.
The mayor also applauded the township’s public works employees for keeping the roads clean during this snow season.
Rochelle Park Board of Education Trustee Dimitria Leakas said she was concerned for the safety of pedestrians attempting to cross streets around snow mounds, especially in school zones. She requested that the police be extra vigilant for speeding and reckless drivers.
“Normal is not normal anymore,” Leakas said.
The committee agreed and pledged to crack down on speeders.
Valenzuela said additional services of appreciation would be planned throughout the year.