35th Anniversary of Bergen County Division On Disability Services
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, September 20, 2013, 04:46 PM EDT
Celebrating an important milestone in the history and accomplishments of the Bergen County Division On Disability Services, James Thebery, Division Director invited Caregivers and the people that they serve to participate at Bergen Community College. Acting capably as Master of Ceremonies, Thebery welcomed the large group of attendees. He introduced the County dignitaries that included County Executive Kathe Donovan, Freeholders David Ganz, John Mitchell, Maura DeNicola and Joan Voss. Past Freeholder John Driscoll was present as well.
After a delicious buffet lunch, Jane Linter, Department of Human Services Director, greeted the assemblage and then introduced Donovan who not only kept her remarks brief, but bravely walked up to the dais without her cane as support. Kathe is still recovering from her disabling stroke! Deputy Commissioner of the NJ Department of Human Services, Dawn Apgar came from Trenton to give a lauding commentary.
Jim Thebery made sure that attention was given to some of the users of his division's services. They were Christine Lis, Andrew Pecorella, Barbara Appel, Cosmo Palmisano, Eva Johnson-Piernas and Carol Messer. Thoughtful person that he is, Jim brought his staff up front for recognition. They are: Bertha-Nora Acosta, Anika Davis, Sabrina Garris, Daniel Kotkin, Fonda Diamond-Levine, Anne Marie McCarthy, Anne Schmidt and Cathie Smithward.
The function ended with a roaring finish as the Biwanko Taiko Drum Group displayed their talents as they rhythmly pounded on the various size drums with heavy drumsticks. An agile band, they jumped around with lots of flourishes and were a fitting tribute to the audience.
For me, the luncheon was brought home when a pretty woman walked up to me pushing a wheelchair. Full of smiles, she introduced herself as a friend of one of my daughters. Seeing the empty wheelchair, I asked her what her function was at the celebration. She replied without missing a beat or a smile that she was one of the disabled people. She had a brain tumor that affected her stance and the wheelchair was used so that she would not lose her balance. Her positive attitude was impressive!