Nutley & Bloomfield first responders will be feted by Essex 200 Club

The Two Hundred Club of Essex County, which was founded in 1966 to assist the families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, and is the oldest such organization of its kind, hosts its 56th annual Valor Awards luncheon Tuesday, May 10, at Nanina’s in the Park, Belleville, and several local first responders will be honored.

The cocktail reception begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets for the annual Two Hundred Club Valor Awards luncheon are available for purchase by calling (973) 694-4982.

Since its inception, The Two Hundred Club of Essex County has raised over $2 million to support the spouses of fallen officers and fund college scholarships for their children.

According to Lori A. Hennon-Bell, president of The Two Hundred Club, 28 police officers and 16 firefighters will be recognized for bravery, dedication to duty, courageous vigilance and selflessness at the luncheon.

“While everyone was at home working virtually for the past two years because of the pandemic, these fine police officers, firefighters and first responders did not have that luxury, they had to show up — the public expected them to show up, protect, and respond to their calls for service. Thankfully, and without regard to their own safety, they responded magnificently,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, a member of The Two Hundred Club’s Board of Trustees, said.

Nominations for The Two Hundred Club’s Valor Awards are made by the chiefs of Essex County’s municipal police and fire departments and the commanding officers of federal, state and regional public safety agencies. Recipients are selected by The Two Hundred Club’s Executive Committee.

Since the Valor Awards were not awarded in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s awards will include actions taken in 2020 and 2021.

Among the local recipients are:

n Bloomfield Fire Department Firefighters Thomas Laicona and Jacob Nicolaou and Capt. David Parsons for jumping into about 5 feet of rapidly rising floodwaters, in full turnout gear, to rescue a victim stuck in a car that was within 6 inches of being fully submerged underwater, where the victim would not have survived had it not been for their swift thinking and actions.

Essex County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Bozios, Det. Dominick Petrucci and Det. Erik Udvarhely, for their total disregard for their own safety when they chased, subdued and disarmed a driver and passenger in a stolen vehicle with weapons and monetary proceeds in the car from prior robberies.

Essex Sheriff’s Office Detectives Victor Brown and Habbaah Evans for using their keen observation to immediately intercede and thwart serious injury and potential loss of life due to a road rage incident involving weapons.

Nutley Fire Department Firefighter Vincent Lehman and Capt. William Vonroth for exemplifying extreme courage by going straight into the flow path to search for victims trapped due to a fire and saving a life.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.