Eagles honored for 80 years of service


A longstanding service organization was singled out for commendation at last Tuesday night’s meeting of the Kearny governing body.

Mayor Alberto Santos and the members of the Town Council and Freeholder Al Cifelli, representing Hudson County government, presented proclamations congratulating the Kearny Aerie No. 2214, Fraternal Order of Eagles, on its 80th anniversary.

The Kearny Aerie is part of an international nonprofit organization founded in 1898 by members of the theatrical profession, whose slogan is “People Helping People.”

And the Kearny Aerie is the oldest in New Jersey, according to President Craig Donnelly Sr., who says that it has continued operations at the same site at 166 Midland Ave. since its inception in 1936.

The charter members purchased the property for $2,500, according to Donnelly, who said his family has a 200-year history in Kearny.

Donnelly, who was elected president last June, said the Eagles “were in the forefront” in advocating for Mother’s Day and for Social Security and for the creation and distribution of Ten Commandments monuments around the U.S.

Like their counterparts around the globe, the Kearny Aerie — as noted by Santos — has dedicated its efforts to raising funds for people with disabilities such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and autism.

In the last nine months, Santos said, the Kearny Aerie has collected $10,000 for various causes, including charitable endeavors sponsored by the town’s PBA and Fire Department unions.

Throughout its long history, the mayor said, “It has truly left its mark on our community. We are proud to have such loyal service organizations here in Kearny.”

Freeholder Cifelli said that he’s been aware of the Eagles’ contributions to the welfare of society through a 30-year association and friendship with Donnelly.

By the example they set, Cifelli said, citizens can learn how “people in a democracy can exercise good works through social action” and can appreciate how “groups like the Eagles can do good things for a community outside the structure of politics.”

Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle reminded the audience that the Eagles have also been a solid supporter of the town’s Giving Tree holiday program that applies donations to the purchase of gifts for needy children in town.

And Councilwoman Susan McCurrie lauded the Eagles, pointing out that, “In this day and age, when it’s hard to keep service organizations running, you’ve dedicated yourselves to helping the most vulnerable.”

Donnelly pledged that, as leader of the Aerie, he and his fellow members would “continue doing good things for Kearny and on the state level,” adding that among their other local causes, the Aerie also fundraises for The Wounded Warriors and Pathways to Independence.

And, this year, Donnelly noted, the Aerie will be one of the sponsors of the May 21 Kearny PBA food truck event at the Frank Vincent Marina that will raise money for the police Tour de Force, which supports families of officers killed in the line of duty, and other local charities.

The mayor and council also extended accolades to the Portuguese Cultural Association on its 37th anniversary and the St. Stephen’s Seniors Club on its 25th anniversary.

And they hailed the opening of Stop Hunger Now’s New York/Metro office in space donated by River Terminal at 110 Central Ave., in South Kearny.

Santos described the parent group as a global organization that relies on volunteers to weigh and package meals consisting of a combination of rice, soy and dehydrated vegetables plus vitamins which are shipped to vulnerable populations, mostly to sub-Saharan areas, some in the Western Hemisphere and some in the U.S.

The mayor pointed out that there continue to be emergency food pantries operating out of St. Stephen’s, St. Cecilia’s and Grace Methodist Churches serving needy Kearny residents.





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