The Hudson County 200 Club held their annual Valor Award Luncheon. The event itself was dedicated to Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago, who lost his life in the line of duty.
The event started with the presentation of scholarships for exceptional children of first responders. Ashley Nally-Nagel, Alyssa Sanchez, Brianni Michelle Thomas, and Jessica DiMase received scholarships from the 200 Club. Gabrielle McCormack, Alexis O’Callahan, Sabrina Scarpa, and Jordan Diaz received scholarships from the Jersey City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4. Next, The Jersey City Fire Foundation presented Kaitlyn Daley, Vincent Youncofski, and Conor Youncofski with their scholarship award. Lastly Kristie DeGenova and Brittany Molta were given the Hudson County Police Chief’s scholarship award.
Then the guest speaker Juan Mattos Jr., who is the U.S. Marshal of the District of New Jersey, gave a powerful speech. He addressed the heroism of the honorees, and especially of Officer Santiago.
Finally it was time for the Valor awards. Captain Jeff Bruder, Jason McCabe, and Steven Karlok of the Kearny Fire Department were honored with the Valiant Teamwork Award. Another Valiant Teamwork Award was given to Acting Captain Thomas Huelbig, and firefighters Thomas Kross and Peter Mangin of North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue.
A Valor Award was given to Officers Christopher Graybill and Officer Joseph Sperlazza of the New Jersey Transit Police. Lastly the program ended with another Valiant Teamwork Award for Jersey City Police Officers Sergeant Kevin O’Mara, and officers Casey McKenna, Ismael Martinez, and Daniel Mundo.
They were recognized for their work on the horrific night that Officer Santiago lost his life. They were given a standing ovation for their hard work and bravery.