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Meadowlands YMCA Honors Community Leaders At Annual Gala

Wood-Ridge's Jack Nagel will be honored at the Meadowlands Area YMCA annual gala for outstanding service to his community.
Wood-Ridge's Jack Nagel will be honored at the Meadowlands Area YMCA annual gala for outstanding service to his community. Photo Credit: Meadowlands Area YMCA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wood-Ridge resident Jack Nagel will be among four honorees at the Meadowlands YMCA 96th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, Oct. 6. NJTV News anchorwoman Mary Alice Williams will emcee the event, themed "Be More/Do More," at 6:30 p.m. at Il Villaggio in Carlstadt, N.J.

The Meadowlands Area YMCA continues its tradition of recognizing community leaders who exhibit the Organization’s four core values, this year honoring Jeff Gural representing Respect, Tom Weatherall representing Honesty, Jack Nagel representing Caring, and Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg representing Responsibility.

Nagel, owner of Jan Promotions, Inc., has shown the meaning of Caring for his work with the Wood-Ridge Lions Club since 1981, raising more than $500,000 in scholarship money for blind, sight impaired, and mentally challenge individuals in his community. He has also chaired events for three organizations, raising more than $1M, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Wood-Ridge Foundation since 1996.

Gural, a real estate developer and harness racetrack owner and operator, will be honored for his Respect to his community exemplified by his commitment to horse racing, his contributions to the Meadowlands Region through building the Meadowlands Racetrack, his continued commitment to the redevelopment of the sports complex through his support of a gaming and entertainment center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

As president and chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, Weatherall embodies the Y’s Core Value Honesty. He leads the MAWNJ organization in granting the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the Garden State believing that a wish experience can be a game-changer.

Englebardt Lautenberg is being honored for her Responsibility to the Region as a political photographer, writer, philanthropist, and businesswoman, and for her effort to carry on her late husband, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s quest to reform the broken Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) written to protect families and children from toxic chemicals found in everyday products. It took three years after her husband’s passing to finally see the bill passes on June 22, 2016 and upon its passing was considered by some as the United States’ 101st Senator.

“Our award-winners this evening were chosen specifically for their ability to rise to the challenge to Be More and Do More,” said Jane Egan, president and chief executive officer of the Meadowlands Area YMCA. “Each of these individuals has risen to the occasion of developing a character that strives for personal best, beyond the high bar set by society. When such efforts are directed toward the betterment of others, it is something truly remarkable.”

The gala benefits the Y’s Annual Scholarship fund that allows it to provide financial assistance to families in the region so that everybody has the chance to enjoy the Y experience. In 2015, the Meadowlands YMCA provided more than $300,000 to 1,000 families throughout the 21 communities in the Region.

For tickets to the gala, contact Teri Festa at the Meadowlands Area YMCA at 201-955-5300 or visit

Established in 1920, the Meadowlands Area YMCA is in East Rutherford, serving more than 23,000 individuals and providing more than $300,000 in financial assistance to over 1,000 local families each year. Its 50+ site locations, lin East Rutherford, North Arlington, Wood-Ridge, Rutherford, Wallington, Secaucus, Lyndhurst, Carlstadt, Moonachie, Maywood, Little Ferry, Edgewater, and Hasbrouck Heights, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility.

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