Top Honor for Teaneck Volunteer
Amid praise for volunteerism, TVAC President Angelae Wilkerson credits family and fellow residents.
As a veteran Teaneck EMT, Angelae Wilkerson has rushed to the aid of countless patients when seconds count. Her volunteerism, however, reaches far beyond an ambulance, touching the lives of people from all walks of life across the area.
From the emergency calls with the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps to helping a food pantry, and fundraising for a child in need, Wilkerson is seemingly anywhere a resident needs help.
“She’s an advocate for every resident in this town,” said Councilman Elie Y. Katz.
Wilkerson was recently honored with Teaneck’s Matthew Feldman Award, named for the town’s former mayor and state senator who was credited with being instrumental in the racial integration of local schools. Teaneck’s Advisory Board on Community Relations collects nominations for the award honoring outstanding local volunteers and community leaders.
“This year we received an extraordinary amount of nominations for a person that is so well deserving of this award,” board chair Patricia White said of Wilkerson.
At a packed town hall ceremony, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg presented Wilkerson with a commendation from the legislature and read a letter from Gov. Chris Christie.
“Your passion for service and volunteerism serves as a model for all New Jerseyans,” Christie’s letter said. “The residents of Teaneck and New Jersey are fortunate to benefit from your exceptional services.”
Wilkerson’s volunteerism spans organized groups to personal projects for locals in need. She has counseled sexual assault victims, pitched in for Teaneck’s Helping Hands Food Pantry, worked with Shelter Our Sisters, Holy Name Medical Center’s Auxiliary and Joan’s Joy Foundation, to name a few. One of her most visible efforts has been as an EMT and now president of the ambulance corps.
But Wilkerson’s drive to help others has extended beyond formal organizations.
Luis Torres Jr. was trying for years to buy a $10,000 special bed for his son, who has cerebral palsy. When Wilkerson heard through a friend about the family's plight, she immediately began working her contacts to raise the money.
Her efforts netted $3,500 and led to a significant discount for the bed, all for a family she met a month after starting her fundraising campaign.
“If my friends need something however I can help, I’m going to do it,” Wilkerson said.
For Wilkerson, the spirit of volunteerism was passed down from her grandparents in Alabama.
“They always opened their door to whoever needed help,” she said.
Wilkerson has worked to instill that same passion to serve in her own children.
“I want my kids to grow up in a community that they appreciate. Where they don’t take things for granted. I drill that into their heads a lot,” she said.
Amid the accolades, Wilkerson was quick to heap praise on friends and colleagues.
“It’s never just me. I’m a reflection of the people around me and I’m fortunate to be around such amazing people.”