the staff if the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, The Mahmoud and Gigi Hamza family of Ridgewood created a lasting tribute of appreciation for frontline heroes, essential workers, and volunteers serving bravely and valiantly during the coronavirus pandemic by donating two oak trees on the north lawn of Veteran’s Field. The trees— planted by village employees last fall— were fittingly dedicated on Arbor Day, April 30, 2021.
Over 40 members of the Ridgewood community were in attendance at the ceremony. Honorees included healthcare professionals from Valley Hospital, unsung heroes from local supermarkets, the post office, and other delivery services, essential Village of Ridgewood employees from the EMT, Fire, and Police, Health, Building, Engineering, Solid Waste and Parks and Recreation departments. The Hamza’s also recognized Ridgewood’s restaurant community and volunteers from the Welcome Back Ridgewood committee, Ridgewood Walks, and Feed the Frontlines.
Mahmoud Hamza said, “Our family did not want all these extraordinary efforts to be forgotten. We want them memorialized. We wanted a living memorial and could not have found anything better than trees – the symbol of life that keeps giving.”
The family’s hope is for the trees to take root and be a lasting reminder of how to move forward in times of great need and honor those who rose to the occasion.
Deputy Mayor and Shade Tree Commission liaison Micheal Sedon welcomed attendees and echoed Hamza’s sentiments of gratitude for the honorees. Sedon said he hopes they feel pride for the sacrifices they made during the pandemic. He said he is grateful that the trees will be a lasting reminder for the community to recognize and acknowledge the essential workers, health care providers, and volunteers who gave above and beyond during the Covid crisis.
Other dignitaries in attendance were Village Manager Heather Mailander, Council members Bernadette Walsh and Pamela Perron, and County Commissioner Ramon Hache. Hache, who served as Mayor at the outbreak of the pandemic, said “like a beacon of light, the love and empathy of our residents have brought us out of the darkness of the pandemic. I am very grateful to the Hamza family for their generosity and love for the Ridgewood community. Their wonderful gifts will benefit our community for generations to come.”