42 new ‘Hometown Heroes’ of North Jersey honored

Last year, Rep. Josh Gottheimer had an idea to honor ordinary citizens who are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of others in the 5th Congressional District. He asked community leaders to nominate those who were making a positive difference and, in December, feted 20 North Jersey “Hometown Heroes.”

Gottheimer’s office soon became so flooded with nominations that he decided to do it more often. On Friday, at Ramapo College, he honored 42 North Jersey residents who have made outstanding contributions to their community — the third time in a year.

“This is my favorite event,” he said after posing for the umpteenth time with honorees and their families. “There is so much good going on, we wanted to shine a spotlight on it. We focus too much on what divides us, not what brings us together as Americans.”

The current crop of Hometown Heroes ranges from teens to senior citizens, elected officials to wounded vets. Some toil under the radar; others have become local celebrities.