You know the old saying — only not living forever and taxes are guaranteed. But if there were one other thing all but guaranteed, it was that at some point or another, Denise Ficeto, of Kearny, would one day be the town’s Senior Citizen of the Year.

Such was the case in 2024 as she — along with senior citizens from all of Hudson County’s municipalities — was recognized at an annual luncheon at the Liberty House restaurant in Liberty State Park, with perhaps the most breathtaking backdrop in the world, the lower Manhattan skyline.

New Hudson County Executive Craig Guy, his first time hosting the awards following the retirement of Thomas A. DeGise, celebrated Ficeto’s dedication to the people of Kearny, for her countless hours of volunteerism and her ability to always put others over self. And then, he had the entire place laughing when he was ready to present her with her award.

“Congratulations, Diane,” he said accidentally, to thunderous laughter and applause.

Once everyone paused for photos with the award, Mayor Carol Jean Doyle, who was one of only three from

the Kearny governing body present for the luncheon — Denise’s better half, Jerry, and Councilwoman Marytrine DeCastro made the seven mile journey to Jersey City to honor her while six others decided against going — praised her friend for all she’s done for Kearny.

“Denise has done so much for the Town of Kearny and it was such an honor for me to nominate her for this award,” Doyle said. “I am proud to call Denise my friend and I am so grateful for all she does for all the people who call our great town home.”

Ficeto, meanwhile, wasn’t the only West Hudsonian honored May 8. Harrison Councilman Michael Dolaghan was Harrison’s selection, though he couldn’t be there while he recuperates from illness. In his stead, Harrison Councilman Larry Bennett, himself a previous recipient of the award, accepted on Dolaghan’s behalf.

In East Newark, Mayor Dina M. Grilo was on hand to present the award to resident Maria Oshiro.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served 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 social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, 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 Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.