Cranford’s Atria honors first responders

Photo Courtesy of Jaye Shear The First Responders tree planting and brunch honors Cranford’s Fire Department, Police Department and EMTs at Atria Senior Living in Cranford.
Photo Courtesy of Jaye Shear
The First Responders tree planting and brunch honors Cranford’s Fire Department, Police Department and EMTs at Atria Senior Living in Cranford.

CRANFORD, NJ — Artria Cranford celebrated Patriot Day and held a tree planting ceremony to honor the police, fire and ambulance of Cranford on Friday, Sept. 9. The ceremony featured Linden’s ROTC color guard. Mary Fagan, of Clark, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Joyce Yencarelli, executive director of Atria, read the dedication of the multi-stem myrtle tree that was planted. There is a plaque next to the tree that reads, “The Staff and Residents of Atria Cranford honor the first responders of Cranford, New Jersey for their service and dedication,” along with the date.

Joanna Mansfield, Atria’s regional vice president, also thanked the first responders. Photos were taken prior to a brunch that was served to the community. A strong sense of dignity was felt by the honorees.

“I felt a great sense of respect,” police Sgt. Russell Luedecker told LocalSource. “I take even more pride in my job ever since Sept. 11. The importance of safety cannot be emphasized enough. I feel very appreciated to be a first responder in Cranford.”

“I feel I’m an important member of the community,” Cranford police Capt. Joe Van Bergen told LocalSource. “There’s a strong sense of community today, and I’m always glad to help. This is a unique town because of the community. We work as partners to keep each other safe. I feel our support is appreciated.”

Residents at Atria were dressed in red, white and blue to express their patriotism. Many of them felt a great sense of pride for their community and country. Some of them even felt a personal sense of honor for a loved one.
“My son was in the army for years,” Maureen Tuccio told LocalSource. “He’s a police officer in Clark. I’m very proud of him. I go to all the memorials for Sept. 11.”

“Today’s ceremony was very patriotic,” Mary Frigand told LocalSource. “It was nice to honor the police and fire departments for always being here for us. The tree-planting ceremony was lovely. I like to take a walk around the building at night and look at it. I’m looking forward to sitting out this evening after my walk to admire it.”

Frigand wore a red shirt and pearls to demonstrate her patriotism. Many of the residents made blankets to donate to a veterans home in Menlo Park at their upcoming

Gratitude Day on Sept. 21. They also prepared bags of candy with a poem attached, saying thank you, to present as gift to the first responders.

“There is wisdom in gratitude, and we witness it daily with the more than 21,000 seniors nationwide who call one of our communities home,” said Atria Public Relations Manager Ben Adkins. “Older adults know, maybe better than anyone, how to experience and express gratitude. On September 21, World Gratitude Day, residents from Atria Senior Living communities across the country will venture out into their towns and cities to express appreciation to others under the banner, ‘Go Grateful.’ The goal: to top 25,000 expressions of gratitude.”

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