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August 20, 2015



(Newark, NJ) – Teresa Wright-Johnson was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for her compassionate community service during their meeting held at Irvington Town Hall on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.  The Board’s commendation was sponsored and presented by Freeholder Wayne Richardson of Newark.

Freeholder Wayne Richardson of Newark presents the Freeholder Board’s commendation to Teresa Wright-Johnson during the Board’s meeting held at Irvington Town Hall on Wednesday, August 19th, in recognition of her compassionate community service to help others despite her own health challenges.  Photo by Glen Frieson.

“Tonight I have the privilege of recognizing the community service and courage of a very special young woman who also happens to be my cousin”, said Freeholder Richardson.  “Teresa is courageous, compassionate and altruistic.  She was born with an abnormal aortic heart valve, has endured multiple open-heart surgeries and cardiac procedures over the years, including the replacement of a pulmonary heart valve just over a year ago, and this past November, she was also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis”, said Richardson.  “But despite these challenges in her life, despite these setbacks, she hasn’t let any of it stop her from achieving, enjoying life, or helping and inspiring others.”

“Teresa is constantly volunteering her time to empower others, whether by speaking at churches, health events and ministries to encourage a healthy lifestyle, or by being a role model herself… demonstrating by her very example just what it means to embrace your challenges, face them head-on, and use them to inspire you to live every day to the fullest”, said Richardson.  “Teresa, you have inspired me, our entire family, and everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing you.  You motivate us all, and I applaud you for all you’ve accomplished, for all you do to encourage others, and for being the outstanding woman, friend and cousin you are.”

“I am so honored to receive this prestigious award”, said Wright-Johnson.  “Yes, I’ve had my trials and my tribulations, but still I am thankful for my life because my trials have become my triumphs; I am on purpose and so blessed to be supported by such a strong and loving family... my parents, my husband Marvin, and my entire family.”  She went on to thank her cousin, Freeholder Richardson, and the entire Freeholder Board saying, “I appreciate this so much, and I promise you that I am going to continue on, fight on.  I am not only going to try to save my life, but also the lives of others because we all matter, we all have a purpose, and when we reach down into our hearts, we will discover what that purpose is.”

Wright-Johnson, who is a poet as well as an inspirational speaker, also presented Richardson with an original poem she authored about him, which includes the following lines:

“A union man and a dignitary, someone who keeps his word,
A humanitarian and an advocate, the voice of those unheard.”

“A people’s man he can relate to any and every one,
Never judgmental he understands self-righteousness benefits none.”

Freeholder Richardson is serving his first term as the Board’s District 2 Freeholder where he represents Irvington, Maplewood and parts of Newark’s South and Central Wards.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695