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First Responders of Hawthorne, Wayne, Wyckoff Honored Alongside Christian Health Boards of Trustees at Annual Gala

First Responders of Hawthorne, Wayne, Wyckoff Honored Alongside Christian Health Boards of Trustees at Annual Gala

On October 23, 2019, Christian Health (CHCC) hosted its annual gala, A Celebration of Excellence, at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ. The event honored the boards of trustees of CHCC and its Foundation, along with first responders from the towns of Hawthorne, Wayne, and Wyckoff. More than 500 guests attended, including over 180 first responders.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the CHCC Foundation, and A Celebration of Excellence was a wonderful opportunity to honor those who have and continue to inspire, lead, serve, and protect CHCC,” said Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, President and CEO of CHCC. “For decades, our boards of trustees and the Hawthorne, Wayne, and Wyckoff first responders have demonstrated tireless devotion to those we serve and to the community. It is our privilege to recognize their many significant contributions.”

Since its inception in 1911, CHCC has continually expanded and enhanced its senior-life, mental-health, and short-term rehab services, programs, and residences based on community need with the vision and guidance of knowledgeable and dedicated trustees. Today, this board is aided in its efforts by the CHCC Foundation. Foundation trustees help educate the community about CHCC’s mission and seek support through financial gifts, volunteer efforts, and prayer.

“CHCC’s level of care and loving kindness is unmatched by any facility of its kind in our area. The organization is incredibly blessed by its dedicated and compassionate leadership, clinical team, and volunteer pool. All exemplify the compassionate values upon which CHCC was founded and continues to operate today. I am humbled to be a part of this team and to be honored by CHCC,” said Rick DeBel, CHCC Board of Trustees Chair.

Said Ellsworth P. Whiteman, CHCC Foundation Chair, “I believe in the mission of Christian Health. CHCC can be proud of its 108 years of success. The organization keeps getting better and better, both the quality of care and the physical plant. It’s very satisfying to be part of this evolution, and I am honored to serve such a great organization.”

Part of CHCC’s continued growth and ability to deliver quality care is through mutual respect and collaboration with the Borough of Hawthorne, and the Townships of Wayne and Wyckoff. Their first responders – police and fire departments, first-aid squad, and ambulance corps – provide critical services and support to all community members.

The first responders are extensions of CHCC’s vision. Their ongoing mission to protect, serve, and support our community aligns with CHCC’s mission. These everyday heroes sacrifice and care for our communities with dignity, compassion, and honor, protecting and serving nearly 93,000 community members collectively, including the nearly 2,000 individuals on CHCC’s three campuses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“An old expression says that people only have ‘one chance to make a first impression.’ Truer words were never spoken with specific regard to Christian Health. Every person we come in contact with at the facility, from the administrative staff to the medical and clinical team, is friendly and courteous. Everyone is always willing to help and has a true interest in doing what is right for the patients and residents, as well as the community as a whole. We are lucky to have such a facility located in our own back yard,” said David Murphy, Wyckoff Police Chief. “As the Chief, I am pleased, honored, and humbled that CHCC honored our department at such a prestigious event. This was a truly memorable evening for us, and one that we will always treasure. I would like to sincerely thank everyone at CHCC for their generosity and support.”

Added Ken Houtsma, Chief of the Hawthorne Volunteer Ambulance Corps, “We were honored to be recognized by Christian Health. It is the best facility of its kind around.”

“I am extremely proud to have Christian Health as part of Wayne Township. It is an exceptional organization which enhances the quality of life in our community,” said Mayor Christopher P. Vergano. “I was also thrilled that CHCC honored first responders. It is crucial to support, celebrate, and most important, thank first responders for putting their lives on the line to protect and serve community residents. They are truly deserving of this honor.”

In keeping with the spirit of recognizing and giving back to those who give so much, CHCC committed to making a gift to honor the first responder honorees through a portion of the proceeds raised at the gala.

“Our gratitude and admiration for Hawthorne, Wayne, and Wyckoff first responders – past, present, and future – are constant. They continue to inspire all of us at CHCC to selflessly serve, protect, and care for others with dignity, compassion, and honor,” Mr. Struyk said.

CHCC expresses gratitude for the steadfast generosity of its supporters. Major contributing event sponsors include Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office; Columbia Bank Foundation; Kuiken Brothers; NJM Insurance Group; Patient Care Associates; Railroad Construction Company, Inc.; and Select Rehabilitation.

CHCC is still accepting gifts in honor of the trustees and first responders. Visit to contribute. To view the special tribute video shown at the event and more photos from A Celebration of Excellence 2019, visit

About Christian Health

CHCC provides a broad continuum of high-quality, compassionate care, offering superior senior-life programs and residences, inpatient and outpatient short-term rehab, and extensive behavioral-health services. As a non-profit and Gold – Excellence in Quality Award-winning organization, we welcome all people and deliver Person- and Family-centered Care to our community based upon the Christian principles on which we were founded more than a century ago. For more information, visit