Department for Persons with Disabilities
A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
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Award Nominees - 47th Annual Murray House Dinner Dance

Person of the Year
Joseph F. Duffy

The Person of the Year is awarded annually at our Murray House Dinner Dance. The award, voted on by members of the DPD and Murray Family is given to someone who has made significant contributions to the Department for Persons with Disabilities and has shown a strong desire to help those in need. This year’s recipient will be longtime DPD Volunteer and past Board President, Joseph F. Duffy.

Joseph F. Duffy retired as the President of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson which serves all of Morris, Passaic and Sussex Counties in New Jersey. He also served as the Executive Director of Straight and Narrow, Inc., the largest comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment program in New Jersey. Joe served as President of the Boards of Trustees of the three Catholic Charities Agencies in the Diocese which included Catholic Family and Community Services, Department for Persons with Disabilities and Straight & Narrow. He was also responsible for the Diocese’s Migrant Ministry, and Catholic Charities Development programs. Catholic Charities serves nearly 70,000 people annually and administers a budget of $57 million with a paid staff of over 800 and as 1000 volunteers. Prior to working at Catholic Charities, Joe worked for 21 years at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson where he served as Vice President for Ambulatory and Long-Term Care.

Joe has a Masters degree in nonprofit management from Regis University in Colorado, a Masters degree in public administration from Rutgers University, a Masters degree in rehabilitation counseling from Seton Hall University, a Masters degree in special education from William Paterson University, and a Bachelors degree with a major in sociology from Seton Hall University. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit National Honor Society. In 2008 Joe received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station. In 2011 Joe received the United Way’s Cornerstone Award for outstanding community service. In 2012 Joe was recognized by Catholic Relief Services as an outstanding Diocesan Director. Joe received a Lifetime Caring Award from HomeCare Options in 2015.

Joe taught as an adjunct faculty member at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the College of St. Elizabeth College on both the graduate and undergraduate level. He has served in the past as a field instructor for Ramapo College, Farleigh Dickinson, Fordham, William Paterson, Montclair State University, Bethlehem (Palestine), and Rutgers Universities and the University of Pittsburgh.

Joe has served on numerous nonprofit Boards of Trustees on both the local and national level. He has conducted board training for other nonprofits across the country. In his capacity as President of Catholic Charities, Joe was responsible for developing a legislative advocacy manual that has been made available to parishes and schools. He is well known for his legislative advocacy work concerning issues affecting the poor both locally and nationally. In that capacity he is one of the founding members of the statewide advocacy group, the Catholic Coalition for a Just Budget.

Joe served as the Paterson Diocese Director for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and for Catholic Relief Services. In the former capacity Joe helped to raise money for anti-poverty programs across the US and recommended funding decisions. In the latter capacity, he helped to raise funds for the development work and emergency assistance program of CRS in over 100 countries around the world. He has traveled with CRS to countries in South America and Africa to learn of CRS’ efforts to alleviate poverty, provide disaster assistance, economic development, and peace-building. Joe has assisted local parishes in setting up international twinning programs. Joe has also authored a manual on how to obtain donated supplies for groups going on national or international service trips.

Joe has been part of the DPD Family for over 45 years, first serving with DPD as a volunteer. We are so proud to honor Joseph F. Duffy with the Person of the Year Award at this year’s Murray House Dinner Dance. His contributions our organization and to helping the poor in the Paterson Diocese and beyond are truly unmatched.


Marilyn Murray Keenan Inspiration Award (Volunteer of the Year)
Jennifer Minervino


The Marilyn Murray Keenan Inspiration Award is named after Marilyn Murray Keenan, who had been involved with DPD for over 40 years until her untimely passing in 2007. Marilyn was a People Need Friends Volunteer for DPD, who also volunteered for Depaul High School and St. Phillips Church in Clifton. Her memory lives on through her family and through her extended DPD Family. This year’s Marilyn Murray Keenan Inspiration Award (Volunteer of the Year) recipient will be Jennifer Minervino.

Jennifer (Jenn) Minervino lives in Stillwater with her husband Rob, and rescue pets - Dexter the pug and Trudy the cat. She grew up in Bayonne and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology minoring in Criminal Justice with concentration in Investigative Services from Saint Peter's University. She has worked for Citi for the last 12 years, where she is currently a manager in their Cyber Intelligence Center.

She has volunteered for many organizations over the years including Habitat for Humanity, Operation Shoebox, Dress for Success, Career Gear, March of Dimes and the ARC of Somerset County. In 2015, she was recognized by the ARC as Volunteer of the Year and Top Individual Fundraiser.

After moving to Sussex County, she heard a commercial on the radio for the DPD and immediately reached out to see how she could get involved. For over a year, she has been co-leading the Fight for the Right Community Service Group. She helped reinvigorate this group and throughout the last year has helped them with numerous volunteer projects including: police appreciation initiatives, pet product drives, providing support for pregnant mothers in shelters and giving back to the poor and sick.

Jenn has also helped fundraise, specifically for the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic; bringing in numerous new donors, sponsors, volunteers and advocates. She helped this event raise over $100,000 in 2016.


She enjoys spending time with the amazing residents of the DPD as well as event planning, interior decorating, fishing, vacationing in Aruba and spending time with her family, including her niece and four nephews.

We are so happy to honor Jenn Minervino, whose selflessness and kind heart has made a difference in the lives of many!


Public Servants of the Year
The Clifton Police Department & The Clifton Fire Department

The Public Servants of the Year Award will be presented for the first time at the 2017 Murray House Dinner Dance. This Award will be given to someone who embodies the spirit of public service through faithfully making a difference in the lives of others. This year, the honorees will be both the Clifton Police and Fire Departments.

Murray House moved from Paterson to Clifton in 1992. Since the very beginning, both the Clifton Police Department and the Clifton Fire Department have stood by our side to keep us safe. On a weekly basis both Departments respond to various emergencies at Murray House and have always done so in a manner that is diligent, courteous and kind.

The Clifton Police Department, led by Chief Mark Centurione, is dedicated to protecting life, property, and maintaining order with equal treatment given to all. We have seen firsthand how they serve with integrity strength and compassion.

The Clifton Fire Department, led by Chief Kevin McCarthy, guarantee to the citizens and visitors of Clifton that they will provide dependable service in a responsible fashion, while showing care and compassion for those in need.

We are blessed to be served by both Departments and are proud to honor them on February 19th!


Frank X. Graves Award
Recipient TBA

Frank X. Graves Jr. was the past Mayor of Paterson who served 2 separate terms, as well as serving on the Paterson City Council, The Passaic County Board of Freeholders and the New Jersey State Senate. Mayor Graves was instrumental in helping DPD construct Murray House on Main Street in Paterson. This program was one of the first group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is the longest running group home in the state of New Jersey. Mayor Graves was a longtime supporter of DPD’s until his passing in 1990.

The Frank X. Graves Award is given annually to an individual who lives in one of DPD’s group homes or supervised apartments. The award is given to someone who has overcome adversity and who has striven to help others. The Frank X. Graves recipient also goes on to be the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) Community Star.

The Award is a surprise for the recipient.


Employee of the Year
Recipient TBA

The Employee of the Year Award is given to a member of the DPD Staff Team. The Award will be presented to someone who has displayed selfless dedication and a commitment to excellence throughout the year.


Jim and Kit Murray Outstanding Achievement Awards
Recipient TBA

The late Jim and Kit Murray, through their relationship with our Founder, Monsignor Jack Wehrlen, are responsible for much of the success our agency has seen today. The patriarch and matriarch of the Murray Family were instrumental in creating and constructing the Murray House in Paterson. They installed a spirit of giving within their family that lives on to this day.

The Jim and Kit Murray Outstanding Achievement Awards (clovers) are given to several individuals who are served by DPD’s programs and is the highlight of the Murray House Dinner Dance. The awards are surprises for the recipients.