Above: Gottheimer speaks at New Milford’s centennial anniversary
NEW MILFORD, NJ — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) celebrated the Borough of New Milford’s centennial anniversary with local leaders, law enforcement, first responders, and members of the community. Gottheimer honored New Milford’s strong history of community and dedication to the nation, highlighting stories of its founding and highly decorated New Milford WWII service members, as well as recent heroic deeds performed by community members.
“Above all else, it’s clear that New Milford is not just a town that cares — but a town that comes together. Throughout the pandemic, residents sold signs thanking our frontline healthcare workers and used the profits to give back to the community. The town holds ceremonies honoring America’s troops who have been laid to rest in its cemeteries. Once, when a fire left several residents without homes, the community came together, opened its doors, started fundraisers, and helped neighbors get back on their feet,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I’m incredibly proud to represent the New Milford community and, over the years. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work closely with so many of you.”
Together, the community also celebrated opening a 25-year-old time capsule filled with letters, photos, and mementos.
Gottheimer was joined by New Milford Mayor Michael Petrino, New Milford Councilmembers Lisa Sandhusen, Thea Sirocchi-Hurley, Randi Duffie, Matthew Seymour, and Ira Grotsky, New Jersey State Senator Joseph Lagana, New Jersey State Assemblymembers Christopher Tully (LD-38) and Lisa Swain (LD-38), Bergen County Commissioner Mary Amoroso, Teaneck Councilman Michael Pagan, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton, and the New Milford Police Department & Honor Guard.
Below: Gottheimer with NJ State Senator Joseph Lagana, Assemblymembers Lisa Swain and Chris Tully, New Milford Mayor Michael Petrino, Council President Randi Duffie, and Councilwoman Hedy Grant.
Below: New Milford firefighters opening the 25-year-old time capsule.
Below: Gottheimer at the New Milford centennial anniversary.
I want to thank everyone for coming out today to join me in celebrating the great Borough of New Milford’s centennial anniversary.
A special thank you to all the local officials, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and Borough workers for the hard work you do for our community — you are key to New Milford’s long-enduring success.
The vibrant history of New Milford dates back to the 1600s and is even known as the birthplace of Bergen County. Boroughs like New Milford with its wonderful families and small businesses — at a time when the world is so divided — help us come together as a community and as a nation.
Although New Milford was the very first permanent settlement in what is now known as Bergen County, it was not until 1922 — nearly 245 years later — that it was officially incorporated. That is when New Milford officially became a Borough, bringing us all together one-hundred years later to celebrate today.
With the Hackensack River tucked alongside its eastern borders, New Milford boasted beautiful farmlands, selling famous Jersey vegetables, all the way through to the middle of the 20th century.
During World War Two, New Milford answered the call: 563 men and women of the Borough joined the armed forces and 223 citizens volunteered for the Borough’s Defense Council.
One resident, George Fermery, was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, ETO Campaign Ribbon, Two Bronze Stars, Presidential Citation, and the Purple Heart. He served our country valiantly and was killed in action in France in 1944.
New Milford is also home to J. Walter Christie, the father of the modern tank and inventor of the suspension system seen in tanks throughout World War Two.
Again and again New Milford has proven that you should never underestimate a small town.
There’s a great saying about small towns: “A small town is a place where there’s no place to go where you shouldn’t.”
Or as I like to say, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Above all else, it’s clear that New Milford is not just a town that cares — but a town that comes together. Throughout the pandemic, residents sold signs thanking our frontline healthcare workers and used the profits to give back to the community. The town even holds ceremonies respecting America’s troops who permanently rest in its cemeteries.
Once, when a fire left several residents without homes, the community came together, opened its doors, started fundraisers, and helped neighbors get back on their feet.
I’m incredibly proud to represent the New Milford community and over the years I’ve been fortunate to meet and work closely with so many of you.
It’s been a privilege to honor unsung heroes and leaders from New Milford during my biannual Hometown Heroes ceremonies, one of my most cherished moments throughout the year.
Our New Milford Hometown Heroes, like Joe MacDiarmid, Robert Byrnes Jr., and Larry Bauer, remind us all what it means to serve our community.
Joe was honored for his service in Okinawa as a U.S. Marine, and as a leader in the New Milford and Teaneck volunteer ambulance corps where he has saved countless lives.
Robert, who I honored last year, is a career firefighter and has served as Captain at the Bergenfield Fire Department. He has received multiple honors for his two remarkable life-saving rescues: a 65-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl at the local high school.
And I’ve honored Larry Bauer, a New Milford resident who has served as the President of the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, the Pride Awareness Advisory Board, and the Historic New Bridge Landing Commission. He also helped with the great Teaneck International Film Festival.
And, of course, we will always remember Darren Drake, a New Milford resident who was taken from us too soon — a victim of the 2017 West Side Highway terrorist truck attack — who I honor with bipartisan legislation named after him. His memory and joyful spirit will live on through us all, as well as with his memorial, forever established just outside.
In good times or with challenges, this Borough is a community that truly exemplifies what it means to have Jersey Values. The Borough has always supported our fellow community members, North Jersey, the state, and our country, and I will always get your backs and in return.
Thank you all for letting me share in this rich piece of history as we celebrate New Milford’s centennial anniversary. May there be one-hundred more, and a hundred more after that.
With the New Milford community standing together like we are today, I know our best days will always be ahead of us, in the greatest country in the world.
Thank you all. May God bless you, New Milford, and the United States of America.
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