MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Hope One and associated organizations received the 5th Annual Light the World award from the Morristown Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, December 4.
The Light the World award was created five years ago as part of an initiative to highlight tremendous community impact in Northern New Jersey, officials said, adding it is an initiative from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to recognize love and service to others. Individuals or groups are nominated for the award as they exhibit community service and help to spread light and sheriff joy to others.
Sheriff Gannon partnered with non-profit organizations, law enforcement officers, mental health, addiction recovery experts, and spiritual advisers to develop the Hope One program, a mobile substance use, and mental health disorder outreach, officials said. The mobile unit stops in communities to provide free Narcan training and Naloxone kits and provides access to addiction recovery and mental health programs.
The Hope One mobile unit is sponsored by The Morris County Sheriff’s office in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Morris County, Morris County Prevention is Key, and its Center for Addiction Recovery, Education, and Success (CARES).
In 2017, Sheriff Gannon opened the “Hope Wing” at the Morris County Correctional Facility, which assists inmates with substance use disorders and helps them repair relationships, manage anger, spiritually grow, and access education.
The Light the World award was presented by William H. Ludlam, president of the Morristown Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Sheriff Gannon accepted the award and praised the staff members at Hope One, who said, “Are the ones who do the day-to-day life-saving work in the community.” He asked those present to stand and introduced them by name, including Mental Health Association Director Madine Despeine, Mental Health Association Officer Chelsea Whiting, Peer Recovery Specialist Jon Erik Randazzo, Corporal Erica Valvano, Social Case Worker Jaimie Bingham, and Mental Health Association Case Manager-Karolyn Mora.
In addition, singer-songwriter, Coco Santoni, performed two original songs at the event.
Speakers included Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris; Adeline Connor, Young Women’s organization member, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Robert A. Wilson, chief security officer, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, New Jersey; the Rev. Dr. David A. Hollowell, chair of Martin Luther King Observance Committee and outgoing president of Morris Area Clergy Council, and Mohammad Ali Chaudry, president of Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, and Blair Schleicher Wilson of Mountain Lakes, CEO, of Morris Habitat for Humanity, based in Randolph Township.