By GABRIELLA DRAGONE
PATERSON, NJ – Mayor Andre Sayegh joined the Paterson Fire and Police Departments for their annual Touch-A-Truck event in support of Autism Awareness on Saturday.
Families were invited to attend the free event and enjoy food, ice cream, live entertainment, and a rock-climbing wall.
“We’re not only raising awareness of autism,” Sayegh said. “But we’re taking action as well because you matter, and we prioritize you. I salute everyone who’s a part of this positive program.”
Earlier this month, the Mayor and Council raised the Autism Awareness flag at City Hall and cut the ribbon on a brand new inclusive playground that will accommodate children with autism in the City of Paterson.
“This would have not happened without partnerships that have been built,” Fire Chief Brian McDermott said. “This is an amazing event. These are all people that want to give back.”
The Fire and Police Department partnered with St. Joseph’s Medical Center, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, union members and the New Jersey State Police.
“This is a very worthy cause,” Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora said. “I think the most precious things we have is our children and unfortunately autism strikes way to many of them, especially in this state. Events like this help bring this to the forefront.”
On-site was the K-9 Unit, Community Policing and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol along with members of the FMBA Locals selling Autism Awareness t-shirts where the proceeds will go towards Autism.
“Autism awareness is definitely spreading and people are becoming more and more informed of what they can expect from people on the spectrum,” one resident said. “This is such a fun event for those who have autism, and it’s a great opportunity for them to learn more about their community leaders.”