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Jimmy Drake, the father ISIS-inspired terrorist victim Darren Drake, embraces Rep. Josh Gottheimer on September 14 , 2019.

Gottheimer pays tribute to terrorist victims, veterans killed in combat

By David Wildstein, September 14 2019 3:40 pm

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) was in New Milford today to honor former New Milford Board of Education President Darren Drake, a 32-year-old financial services manager who was one of eight killed in a Halloween 2017 ISIS—inspired terrorist bike path attack in lower Manhattan.

“Darren was a hard worker, an avid learner, but he’ll be remembered most for his kindness towards others — as a supportive friend, a caring son, and a tireless advocate,”  Gottheimer said after taking part in an Annual Walk honoring Drake.

Gottheimer also attended ceremonies today in Glen Rock honoring residents who were killed in action during wartime, as well as first responders and eleven Glen Rock residents who were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Among those attending the Glen Rock event was Councilwoman Arati Kreibich, who has announced a challenge to Gottheimer in the 2020 Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 5th district.

The full text of Gottheimer’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“I want to thank everyone for coming out today to join me in celebrating the great town of Glen Rock’s 125th anniversary – our first responders, the recreation department, the Glen Rock Historical Society.

“I’d especially like to thank Assemblymembers Tully and Swain, County Executive Tedesco Bergen County Freeholders, Chairwoman Ortiz, Vice Chairwoman Amoroso, Sullivan, and Zur, Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer, Council President Kristine Morieko, Councilwomen Amy Martin, Arati Kreibich, Michelle Torpey, Mary Barchetto, and Councilman Michael O’Hagan — for all the work you all do for our community.”

“The town of Glen Rock has an incredibly rich history, all centered around this great rock behind me. At a time when so much of our country is divided, we need reminders like this monument to ground us and to help us come together as a community.”

“Many years ago, the Lenape tribe used this area as a hunting ground and this rock was used as a meeting point. And their native trail is what we now call Rock Road.”

“After a New Jersey mandate consolidated one-room school houses in 1894, the children of Glen Rock would have to walk quite a distance to their new school. So, Glen Rock took a house-to-house survey, they decided to chart their own course and provide for their children, and form an entirely new, separate township. And that’s how Glen Rock was officially formed.”

“And since then, the Glen Rock community has continued to come together, to contribute to North Jersey, the state of New Jersey, and to our nation.”

“During World War One, the town of Glen Rock lost five sons, and the entire borough came together and prepared soldier’s medical kits for the Red Cross, they rationed food and fuel, and they gathered metals to donate to the war effort.”

“The five names of those lost in World War One are now affixed on a bronze plaque on this very rock – honoring their service and sacrifice to our country.”

“The community was tested again during World War Two, and Glen Rock answered the call by providing our nation with one of the most distinguished soldiers who ever lived — Glen Rock resident Thomas L. Hawkins, a Tuskegee Airman who served with distinction, and who was killed in action in Italy in 1945.”

“We will never forget these brave soldiers whose memories will live on as their names are proudly set here into this Rock. And to those who fought and those we lost in Vietnam and other conflicts – and with the eighteenth anniversary of 9/11 just this past week, we remember the eleven who perished from Glen Rock that day.”

“And we’ll never forget the dedication of all the first responders — our police and law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and others — who have so bravely served our community.”

“I’ve been so proud to stand with our first responders over the years, including just recently at the National Night Out.”

“I’m always incredibly proud to represent the Glen Rock community, and, as I’m sure many of you know, one of my district offices is located right here within the borough.”

“And, while I always love being all throughout the Fifth District – in Bergen, Passaic, Warren, and Sussex Counties – I’m always thrilled to be able to be in Glen Rock and to be part of this community.”

“For the past few years, I’ve been proud to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ community here with Glen Rock’s Pride.”

“And I’m glad to have been able to honor unsung heroes and leaders from Glen Rock during my biannual Hometown Heroes ceremonies over the past few years.”

“Our Glen Rock Hometown Heroes, like Doug Sadowski and Holy Goshin and others, remind us all what it means to serve our community. Doug, who I honored last year, is a volunteer firefighter who started out at the age of 18 and has been an integral part of protecting and serving the community. And I honored Holly this past summer, for her role as president of the Glen Rock Pride committee and in helping raise the rainbow flag so that members of the Glen Rock community feel welcome — to feel home.”

“Glen Rock is a community, a family, that truly exemplifies what it means to have Jersey Values. This town was born because those who came before us wanted their children to have a great education, right here at home. When called upon to serve our country, countless times, Glen Rock stepped up, sacrificed, and helped chart our nation on its path forward. The community of Glen Rock has had the backs of North Jersey, the state, and our country, and I am honored to always get the backs of those right here in Glen Rock.”

“Thank you all for letting me share in this rich piece of history, as a part of this community, as we celebrate these past 125 years. May there be 125 more, and 125 more after that.”

“This Rock helps us remember who came before and that it will still be here standing for those to come.”

“With the Glen Rock community standing together, like we are today, I know our best days will continue to be ahead of us.”

“Thank you all. May God bless you, may God bless Glen Rock, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

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