On Friday, Sept. 14, the Simpson Baber Foundation for the Autistic will hold its 11th annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner. This year’s event will be held at The Casino in the Park in Jersey City, and will honor four deserving individuals who will be recognized for their contributions to the foundation and for making a difference in the lives of children and families affected by autism. This year’s distinguished honorees are Henry Sanchez, Richard Baccarella, Christopher Patella, and Paul Werther.
Sanchez is a Bayonne resident who was born in Puerto Rico in 1927. He is an honored veteran of the U.S. Navy, and continues to dedicate himself to the armed services by participating in numerous veterans’ organizations. In addition to his many contributions to the foundation, Sanchez has dedicated himself to a variety of charitable and civic organizations. He is a past chairman and current member of The United Way of Hudson County, and chairman of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority. He is also actively involved with UCP of Hudson County, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Bayonne Public Library and Cultural Center, Concerned Citizens of Bayonne, and chairman of the Bayonne Community Museum. Sanchez is a father of four, grandfather of 10, and great-grandfather of 11.
Baccarella, son of Dick and Rose, is a lifelong Bayonne resident. He and his wife Mary Beth are the parents of Lauren, Lisa and Richard. He attended Our Lady of Assumption and Bayonne High School. A 1971 graduate, Baccarella was recognized for his academics, as well as for his role in organized sports. During his high school career, he was an All-County Baseball player, an All-State Soccer player, and a member of the basketball team. At Montclair State University, he majored in physical education and played for the MSU baseball team. He was employed after graduation by the Bayonne Board of Education and was assigned to Philip G. Vroom School. For the next 15 years, Baccarella continued teaching physical education at Robinson, Washington, Roosevelt, and Midtown Community Schools. He was honored by the New Jersey State Department of Education as an outstanding teachers and was included in the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” numerous times. Later he earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from MSU. In 1994, he was appointed coordinator of the pre-vocational program, housed in Bayonne High School. Later he was appointed BHS vice principal and was selected during this assignment as “Outstanding Vice Principal.” In 2000, he began serving as principal of Washington Community School and remained there for two years before taking on his current role as principal of BHS.
Patella is the oldest of six children raised by Louis and Margaret Patella. After graduating from St. Henry’s School in 1969 and Marist High School in 1973, he continued his education at Seton Hall University, earning a bachelor of science degree with honors in education in 1978. Following college, he entered Seton Hall University School of Law, earning a doctorate of jurisprudence in 1981. He was admitted to the practice of law in New Jersey as well as in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, the eastern district of New York, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. During his 30 years of legal practice, Patella’s primary focus has been his passion for criminal defense and his defense of individuals on the federal and state levels. In 1987, Mayor Dennis Collins appointed him as the Municipal Court Judge for the City of Bayonne, making him the youngest judge in the state at the age of 32. Even though he developed a successful law practice, he also desired a teaching position and in 1991, he became an adjunct professor at SHU, as well as an adjunct professor of law at SHU School of Law in 1997. He was recruited by the American Management Association to become a teaching fellow in 2000 and has traveled throughout the country conducting seminars for senior management of major corporations by teaching them the art of contract negotiations, corporate business ethics, and how to avoid white collar criminal exposure. In 2000, he returned as a municipal attorney and counsel to the City Council. After nine years, he became the executive director of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority. Since his appointment in February 2009, Patella has worked closely with Mayor Mark Smith and the commissioners and staff of the BLRA to develop the former MOTBY property and other properties within the city. His work continues as he also continues his legal practice, teaching and community service. He is the proud father of Kaitlyn, Michael, and C.J.
Werther received a bachelor of arts degree in history and graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 1977. He earned a juris doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1981 and was admitted to the New Jersey Bar. He and his wife Marcia are the parents of Lauren and Greg. Werther has over 25 years of experience counseling a variety of successful businesses, privately held companies, and real estate developers in connection with general business transactions, real estate development and redevelopment, urban renewal, land use, contract negotiations, and financings. Werther has been and is lead counsel in connection with some of the largest development and redevelopment projects in New Jersey, including the redevelopment of the former Hoboken Terminal and Rail Yard, and the Bayonne MOTBY, as well as various shopping centers, office complexes, industrial sites, marinas and all types of residential and golf communities. On behalf of both public and private clients, he has been extensively involved in all phases of the development projects.
To learn more about the Simpson Baber Foundation for the Autistic or to order tickets for this year’s Humanitarian Awards Dinner, call (201) 858-9933 or visit www.simpson-baber.org.