SECAUCUS AND BEYOND – Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Panasonic Corporation of North America on Oct. 4 were honored by the nonprofit Hackensack Riverkeeper organization at its Annual Awards Dinner & Sustainable SeafoodFest held in Hasbrouck Heights. Over 200 people joined Captain Bill Sheehan and crew to celebrate 15 years’ worth of achievements, honor the work of friends, and recommit to making the Hackensack River a “fishable and swimmable” river, as the Clean Water Act says it should be, according to a press statement.
“During the course of the year I may receive the lion’s share of media attention but tonight is about people like Mike and the folks at Panasonic who give the extra efforts to help us in our mission,” said Sheehan. “I didn’t build Hackensack Riverkeeper alone, and it doesn’t stand alone. It stands and succeeds because they – like so many others – stand with us.”
Each year’s event singles out and honors individuals and institutions that have assisted Hackensack Riverkeeper in its mission to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River. Gonnelli received the “Excellence in Public Service Award,” in recognition for his many years of public service including his longstanding support of wetlands and open space protection, especially Mill Creek Point Park.
Panasonic Corporation of North America received the “Corporate Environmental Stewardship Award” for its role as an environmentally responsible corporate citizen, both globally and locally, including longstanding participation in Riverkeeper’s Corporate River Stewardship Program. In addition to sending hundreds of employee volunteers to river cleanups, the company is currently moving out of Secaucus and building a new, LEED-certified corporate headquarters in Newark.
Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. It is the independent voice of the river and the citizen steward of its 210 square-mile watershed. Hackensack Riverkeeper is a founding member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international association of over 200 clean water advocates.