On Sunday, February 19th, we held our 47th Annual Murray House Dinner Dance at The Brownstone in Paterson. Over 400 people attended this event, including nearly all of the individuals who live in our programs.
Murray House is one of our 12 residential programs located in Clifton. Murray House is the longest running group home in the state of New Jersey serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Six people call this house "home".
Murray House opened in 1971 in Patterson and was a pioneer program in the State of New Jersey. The home is named after Jimmy Murray. Jimmy was a vibrant young man with disabilities who passed away at the age of 18, right around the time when this program was built. Jimmy's siblings, nieces, nephews and extended family members continue to stay active with our agency after all of these years.
Our Murray House Dinner Dance is one of our biggest events of the year. It is a beautiful night to recognize the people who we serve and those who make a difference in their lives.
This year, we honored Joseph F. Duffy, as the Person of the Year. Joe retired in 2016 as the President of Catholic Charities USA (Diocese of Paterson). Joe has been involved with DPD for over 45 years, first as a volunteer in the early 1970’s. Joe has volunteered and been a board member for dozens of nonprofit organizations, including Catholic Relief Services. Joe was presented with the Person of the Year Award by Thomas Barrett, President of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson, and with an award from the United States Congress by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.
The Clifton NJ Police Department and Fire Department were honored as our Public Servants of the Year. Mayor Jim Anzaldi of Clifton presented the awards and these fine individuals were recognized for their service, bravery and kindness. Individuals from Murray House also presented both organizations with a handcrafted gift.
The Marilyn Murray Keenan Inspiration Award is named for our dear friend and sister Marilyn Murray Keenan, who had been involved with DPD for over 40 years until her untimely passing in 2007. Volunteering and living out the Catholic Social Teaching of ‘caring for the poor and vulnerable’ was at the very heart of who she was. Kevin Murray.and Meghan Murray (Marilyn’s nephew and niece) along with John from Alexander House, presented the Award to Jennifer Minervino. Throughout the last 2 years Jenn has helped a countless number of people as our Fight for the Right Community Service Group leader and as a Wiegand Farm Golf Classic Fundraising volunteer.
Jake Ferguson was honored as our Employee of the Year. "Jake embodies the ideals of Catholic Social Teaching each day he comes to work. He is a joy to work with and is one of the most responsible, kind-hearted and hardworking young men I have ever met. We are blessed to have him as part of the DPD Family" said Scott Milliken, DPD’s Executive Director. Jake was surrounded by his immediate family members and was brought to tears by this surprise recognition.
"For many, the best part of the evening is the presentation of the Frank X. Graves Award and the Jim and Kit Murray Outstanding Achievement Awards, to the individuals who live in our programs", said Chris Brancato DPD Development Director. The awards are named after Jim and Kit Murray honor of the late Patriarch and Matriarch of the Murray Family. Christine from Barnet House, Matt from Kelleher Apartments, John from Basile Apartments and Patty from Giuliano House received the highly anticipated awards.
Kaleigh, from Wehrlen House, was presented with the Frank X. Graves award, given in honor of the late mayor from Paterson. “I am so shocked and happy; I feel like I am going to cry,” said Kaleigh as she joyfully accepted the award, surrounded by 25 of her family members and housemates. Kaleigh will go on to be DPD’s representative at the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) Community STARS Dinner in April.
Thank you to all of our Sponsors; including our Gold Sponsors who made this event possible: Mr. and Mrs. Frank Walsh, Aboyoun and Heller LLC., the Clifton PBA, Allied Printing and Graphics, Assumption Parish - Morristown, The Murray Family, and Liberty Capital Group - Butler.
"We would like to thank everyone who made this beautiful evening possible”, said Mr. Milliken. “Our staff team did an exceptional job assuring that the residents of DPD had a great time. Tommy Manzo and the Brownstone provided wonderful service and delicious food. Our sponsors and donors helped raise needed funds for the DPD and covered the cost of all of our residents to attend. We can’t thank our Person of the Year, Joseph Duffy, Bishop Serratelli and the Chancery of the Diocese of Paterson enough for their support. Finally, we could not have made the evening a success without the Murray Family. For over 50 years they have made a difference in the lives of adults with special needs. The Murray Family is truly part of the DPD Family."