EDISON — Wardlaw-Hartridge cheerleaders Lorianna Carlucci and Tanisha Lakha of Edison represented their school and team with pride at the Red, White and You celebration in Union Beach on July 3. The event received national coverage by Destination America, a cable network dedicated to showcasing what they call the “United States of Awesome” and will air later this summer.
The Wardlaw-Hartridge girls, who were joined by coach Brooke Sofield of Howell, loved being a part of the national event. Destination America’s Red, White and You contest received more than 3,500 entries from Americans nationwide sharing moving stories of why their towns deserve an All-American celebration. Union Beach and Fayetville, N.C. were selected as the winners.
Carlucci and Lakha presented a check for $7,000 to recently retired Union Beach Fire Chief Rob LaBerta, who wrote his town’s application for the contest. The Wardlaw-Hartridge cheerleaders raised the money primarily through the sale of “Restore the Shore – Jersey Strong” bracelets. The cheerleaders distributed 200 free bracelets to members of the Union Beach community at the celebration.
“Our team was truly inspired by the attitude and selflessness of the citizens of this town as well as the Union Beach Fire Department,” said Carlucci, a team captain who recently graduated and will be attending Philadelphia University. “Despite personal losses, these volunteer fire fighters continued to put their community before themselves. They responded to every call despite major losses in facilities and vehicles. Ultimately, we believe that our donation to the fire department will aid the greater community.”
The event included remarks from Congressmen Rush Holt and Frank Pallone and several Union Beach officials. Musical performances by After the Reign and The Mavericks entertained thousands of patrons as they enjoyed barbecue food from the Pitmasters and other vendors. The party concluded with a traditional Fourth of July fireworks display.
“Being able to go to the celebration in Union Beach helped us see where our donations were going,” Sofield said. “We were able to meet members of the community and see how they are recovering from the storm. Nothing was better than hearing the crowd cheer as Lorianna and Tanisha presented the $7,000 check to the fire department.”
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