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2009 Winners

Patient care technician Angelica Mercado of North Bergen was awarded a $50,000 cash grant from the Russell Berrie Foundation as winner of the 2009 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference for assisting a driver whose gas tanker overturned and exploded.  Mercado assisted at the scene of the accident and transported the driver to the hospital.  Healthcare professionals at The University Hospital in Newark, where the driver was taken, believe Mercado’s quick actions likely saved the man’s life.

Taking home the $35,000 award was Kevin J. Williams of Maywood who established the Maywood Rotary Kenya Project to help Maasai schoolchildren.  His efforts have resulted in the first fresh water well for the schoolchildren and people in seven villages along with school supplies, textbooks, school uniforms, well-balanced meals and a library.  The organization has also paid for two eighth-grade classes to attend high school.

Bea Napier, of the Township of Washington (Bergen County), was awarded the $25,000 grant for her service with the township’s ambulance corp.  In her more than 35 years of service she has made more than 5,000 calls, used CPR to save 19 lives and assisted with three childbirths.