• This Is Rutherford

Fourth Salute to Heroes

By Jennifer Ersalesi and Kim Bogosian

Photo credits: Kim Bogosian


This past Sunday, May 31st, a caravan of over fifty vehicles, including fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars participated in the fourth Salute to Heroes parade, which honors First Responders in our town.

Carlos Moran and Councilman Ray Guzman

Carlos Moran was nominated by Kathy Arnold. Carlos was saluted for his work as an Emergency Room Nurse at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Along with his wife and two daughters, Carlos was greeted by the caravan on Sylvan Street.

Edith Thomas and her son and Councilman Ray Guzman

Edith Thomas was nominated by her husband Eric Thomas. He wished to recognize her for going to work every day at Trinitas, regardless of the risks that might be involved. She and her son were greeted by Councilman Ray Guzman.

Denise Goumas and Councilwoman Maria Begg-Roberson

Denise Goumas was nominated by both her friend and colleague, Lisa Hogan, and her husband, Greg Goumas. Lisa nominated Denise for her front-line efforts in the fight against COVID-19. Denise is a registered nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center. She usually works as a Nurse Coordinator for the Pediatric Operating Room but was moved from her Monday through Friday daily shifts to the night shifts under the COVID-19 command center. She had no set position and was called upon to help wherever she was needed most. Greg recognized Denise for the same reasons and additionally for her selflessness in assisting where she was needed as many of her co-workers and Supervisors had contracted the virus. He also commended her efforts in keeping herself safe and her family safe by taking all necessary precautions. Denise and her boys were visited by the caravan outside their home.

Maryline McMillan and Mayor Frank Nunziato

Maryline McMillan was nominated by Chris McMillan the time she has spent caring for several COVID-19 patients as a home care nurse. While visiting the homes of patients, she had to be particularly careful. When visiting one patient, she recognized that he was exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and she had an ambulance come and take him to the hospital where he did test positive and was treated with a ventilator. Sadly, the patient passed away and Maryline was in his home caring for his wife, who has also tested positive when the call came in about his passing. As someone who goes above and beyond for her patients, Chris asked the town to salute his wife for her heroic efforts.

Vincent Silvestri and Mayor Frank Nunziato

Vincent Silvestri was nominated by Vin Urgola for his front-line efforts protecting his nursing staff at New York-Presbyterian Hospital as the Director of Quality, Nursing, and Operations. Each day Vincent (Vinnie) commutes into the city to ensure the safety of his employees and to make sure the patients are receiving the best care possible.

Rebeca Kane and Councilman Eddie Narucki

Rebeca Kane was nominated by Christina Cole for her work as a nurse practitioner at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. She has been in the field for twenty-two years and currently runs the heart and lung transplant program. However, when the pandemic crisis occurred, her hospital was transformed into a COVID-19 hospital. Rebeca was in charge of her pod which consisted of three floors. She was in charge of making sure that the pod was staffed properly with knowledgeable physicians and nurse practitioners. Rebeca, along with her husband Eric and her two children, Hannah and Luke, were excited when the caravan arrived at their home.

Kendall Vazac and Councilwoman Stephanie McGowan

Kendall Vazac was nominated by Michelle Doheny for her heroic efforts during the pandemic crisis. She graduated from Felician’s nursing program at the end of 2019 and when the pandemic hit she was recruited to a nursing home, Care One, where they were many elderly COVID-19 patients. She continues to serve on the frontlines at the Care One facility as well as at Chilton Hospital. Kendall’s mother told Michelle that Kendall was not able to sit and watch what was going on, she had to help. Kendall's family were there to support her as the Salute to Heroes caravan made its way to her home.

Robert Robinson and Sgt. Julie Ziegler

Husband and wife Robert Robinson and Sergeant Julie Ziegler were nominated by Jen Tarantino. Robert is the Director of the Emergency and Trauma Department at Hackensack University Medical Center. After suffering from COVID-19, he recovered and went back to work as soon as he could. Within his own community, Robert is also part of the Rutherford Fire Department and the Rutherford Ambulance Corps. Julie is a Sergeant at the Rutherford Police Department and has been working to keep Rutherford residents safe. See the article recently written about Julie and Rob here.