Department for Persons with Disabilities
A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
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DPD Celebrates 50 Years of Love

DPD held our 50th Anniversary Cocktail Party at the Brownstone on Tuesday, September 15th.

We were joined by our founder, Monsignor Jack Wehrlen; our Administrative Team; our Board of Trustees; members of the Knights of Columbus; representatives from each of our programs and individuals who generously supported our “Building for the Future” Capital Campaign (

Scott Milliken, DPD’s Executive Director kicked off the event as the master of ceremonies and Rev. Msgr. James Mahoney, the Vicar General for the Diocese of Paterson, offered the invocation.

The Knights of Columbus had a special presence at the event and NJ State Deputy Bruce DeMolli presented the Department with a $10,000 check which was proceeds from the state’s disability drive.

Our founder, Monsignor Jack Wehrlen presided over the 150 person crowd. “Bishop Navagh didn’t give specific directions when he established the Department, 50 years ago. He just said ‘take care of those with disabilities.’ I am so proud of how the agency has flourished throughout the last 50 years,” Monsignor Wehrlen said.

Monsignor Wehrlen was also presented with a class ring from Saint Peter's Prep High School (Class of 51) as a token of our appreciation. His original ring had been stolen from the Murray House in Paterson over 40 years ago and the new ring was generously donated by Zolnier Graduate Supply LLC.

Claire Reilly, Robert Jaworksi and Billy Ramirez received “50 Years of Love Awards” presented by DPD Board Vice President Dennis Murray. These individuals were among the first to move into Murray House, which is the longest running group home in the state of New Jersey. A fourth individual, Donald Peseski, was unable to attend but later received the award at home.

The evening concluded with a presentation by Robert Jaworski, who read a heartfelt speech that he wrote to the audience. After Mr. Jaworski, Robert Walker closed out our event by singing “Unforgettable”, acapella style, to the crowd in honor of all of those who have supported the Department throughout our last 50 years.

To further commemorate 50 years of DPD, we put together a commemorative souvenir journal.  The journal contains letters from all living US Presidents, religious dignitaries and others; DPD’s history, and interview with our founder and ads from donors to our Building for the Future Capital Campaign you can view the journal here:

DPD’s 50th Anniversary Souvenir Journal

Thank you to everyone who has donated to or celebrated with DPD throughout our golden anniversary year.  We look forward to another 50 years of making a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities!