At St. Anne School in Fair Lawn, N.J. this morning, Father Mychal Judge awards were handed out to students who exhibited the qualities the late FDNY chaplain was known for: friendliness, kindness and compassion. The citations were voted on by teachers and fellow classmates.
At the New York Press Club tonight, a group of reporters were honored with Mychal Judge Heart of New York prizes, for a story or series “most complimentary of New York.” The 2015 winners are WFUV 90.7 FM’s George Bodarky (“How Sweet It Is: Riding in the Candy Cab“), Woman Around Town’s Alix Cohen (“Clown Care: When Laughter Heals“), Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner Jr. (The Urban Gardner) and NY1 News (How NYC Works).
And at St. Joseph’s Park in East Rutherford next Sunday, a life-size bronze statue of Judge will be unveiled, with Bergen County firefighters and others in attendance. The origins of the sculpture, created by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio, date back to the very day Judge lost his life:
People first began talking about the idea of a statue in 2001, after a mass was celebrated on September 11, said James Cassella, mayor of East Rutherford. Cassella had known Mychal since the 1960s, when Mychal arrived in East Rutherford and became active in the parish and in the community.
“I was in high school at the time,” he said. “I became friendly with Mychal and, through the years, even after he left our town, and I would see him at events around North Jersey.”
Through these events and the annual Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance, the spirit of the heroic FDNY chaplain and Franciscan friar lives on. Strong.
[Illustration via: Facebook]