While New Jersey’s Heartland is filled with hidden gems, our biggest treasures are the people who make our region a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family.
We created “Heartland Heroes” to shine a spotlight on individuals and groups of people who have made a special contribution to New Jersey’s Heartland. Heartland Heroes will be recognized here and in New Jersey’s Heartland social media. They will also receive a special “Heartland Heroes Certificate of Appreciation,” as well as a token of gratitude from New Jersey’s Heartland.
If you know someone or a group of people who deserve the title “Heartland Hero,” please let us know by clicking here to submit their information!
Patricia Martinelli has been recognized in the community for her achievements and contributions to Cumberland County. In 2013, she was presented with the Community Service Award by Vineland City Council and in 2015, she was selected as a Hometown Hero by The Grapevine Newspaper. Patricia is the Curator of the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society Read More
Lee Domenico is the President of Lee’s MSkeeter’s Foundation, a nonprofit that Lee started when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. The foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance to individuals coping with day-to-day challenges of Multiple Sclerosis. The financial assistance provided to individuals helps those who do not have sufficient money to Read More
Kathy Farinaccio resides in Minotola, New Jersey, and is actively involved in communities throughout New Jersey’s Heartland. She volunteers at organizations like the Vineland Regional Dance Company, Vineland Main Street, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast & Festival, and the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA/YMCA of Vineland. Kathy is Past President of the Greater Vineland Chamber Read More
Leah Rodio is the owner of GorJess & LoveLee, a popular fashion boutique in Downtown Hammonton, New Jersey. Leah was instrumental in organizing the monthly Third Thursday event that showcases art, food, shopping, and entertainment while creating a pleasant evening experience in the heart of Hammonton. She also led the effort to create the week-long Read More
Reverend Gary N. Stiegler, or “Pastor Gary” as he is known, is the spiritual leader of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Vineland. He is active in a number of communities and initiatives throughout New Jersey’s Heartland, including projects like the Critical Incident Stress Foundation, International Conference of Police Chaplains, Bay Shore Center at Read More
It’s not often that someone gets to celebrate their 99th birthday. Joseph Barca Sr. of Glassboro, NJ, decided the best place to celebrate was at his barbershop, where he has worked every day since 1955. Joseph started cutting hair at the tender age of 10, seven years after moving to New Jersey’s Heartland from Sicily. Read More
Founding Funny Farm Rescue did more than just fulfill the dreams of Laurie Zaleski’s mother. Located in Mays Landing, Funny Farm Rescue has become a home where unwanted farm animals and animals with special needs are welcome to live out their natural lives. Every year, millions of animals throughout the country are euthanized, mostly due Read More
Kelsey Stockton, Edgar Trejo, and Donovan Velez are recent graduates of Salem Community College. The bond that ties these extraordinary young people together and led to their Heartland Heroes nomination is that all three graduated from Salem Community College BEFORE they graduated from high school! Kelsey earned an Associate in Arts degree with high honors Read More
My Sisters’ Kids is an organization based in Millville whose mission is to support kids in Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem County who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The organization provides a place where children, teens, young adults and their families can share their experiences. My Sisters’ Kids was inspired by the personal Read More
How a person lives and the manner in which that person’s life touches the people and communities that surround them are how we judge a Heartland Hero. New Jersey’s Heartland recently lost a good friend and great man with the passing of Dean Pappas. For his many accomplishments and renowned generosity, Dean was about to Read More
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