Each year, the New Jersey Hall of Fame honors local heroes not typically recognized for their work through the Unsung Hero award. This year’s winners are prominent community leader Bill Lavin and the crew of the Battleship New Jersey, both of which will be inducted as part of the Hall’s 12th Annual Induction Ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. The ceremony can be viewed at facebook.com/NewJerseyHallofFame or by tuning into MY9 or NJTV.
Lavin represented over 5,000 career firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers in his former role as president of the NJFMBA. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, he founded the Where Angels Play Foundation. The organization’s first tribute initiative, “The Sandy Ground Project,” built 26 playgrounds in areas destroyed by the hurricane- one to honor the memory of every life lost in Newton, CT. The organization continues to build playgrounds throughout the country.
“I’m sure there are thousands of New Jersey folks who would be more worthy to join the amazing collection of New Jersey Hall of Fame honorees,” says Lavin. “But I am proud to accept this honor on behalf of all the Angels and their families we are blessed to celebrate, the firefighters I was privileged to represent and the countless ‘army of angels’ who comprise the Where Angels Play Foundation.”
“Bill Lavin is a true hero by all measures,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “His charitable work exemplifies New Jersey values, and this award underscores the tremendous impact of his efforts.”
The Battleship New Jersey is our country’s longest and most decorated Battleship, and her crew has protected, inspired, and educated the Garden State since the ship’s launch in 1942. The Battleship earned a Navy Unit Commendation for service in Vietnam and 19 battle and campaign stars for combat operations during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Lebanese Civil War, and service in the Persian Gulf.
“Those who worked and served on the Battleship New Jersey continue to educate and inspire future generations,” said Phil Rowan, CEO of the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. “I’m grateful to the New Jersey Hall of Fame for bestowing this well-deserved honor of our crew.”
“We are indebted to Bill Lavin and the crew of the Battleship New Jersey for their dedication to uplifting and inspiring our state,” says Jon F. Hanson, chairman of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
These Unsung Heroes will be inducted as part of the Hall’s 12th Annual Induction Ceremony on Sunday, October 18 at 7 p.m. The one-hour virtual televised ceremony will honor 27 of New Jersey’s most distinguished citizens as they are officially inducted into the NJHOF, the highest civilian honor bestowed by our state.
The Class of 2019-2020 inductees include multiple award-winning actor Ed Harris, former NY Giant quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Grammy Award-winning soul and gospel singer Cissy Houston, Academy Award-nominated actor Danny Aiello, Roots and Good Times actor John Amos, General Martin Dempsey, and many more.
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