Foundation Awards Scholarship in Remembrance of Terrorist Victim Darren Drake

Clubs and Organizations

July 30, 2021

From: The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF)

Bergen County, NJ -- The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's (NNJCF) Darren Drake Memorial Fund named New Milford High School 2021 graduate Romel Vasquez Urgiles the fourth recipient of a $2,000 scholarship award. This NNJCF charitable, donor advised fund memorializes New Milford High School graduate Darren Drake, who died in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017. The NNJCF is a not-for-profit organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey.

The NNJCF fund awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior of New Milford High School to pursue training in the trade or technical professions. Urgiles plans to attend Universal Technical Institute in Bloomfield, New Jersey and pursue automotive studies.

During high school, Urgiles played on the New Milford High School Wrestling team for four years. In addition, he received the first New Milford Wrestling Foundation scholarship award. 

Skilled Laborers Needed in Trade Professions

While serving as a member of the New Milford Board of Education, Darren Drake recognized the importance of preparing high school students to pursue vocational careers to meet a shortage of skilled labor in the trade and technical professions. According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, 30 million jobs are available in these professions, with median earnings of $55,000 annually, that do not require a bachelor of arts degree. A range of jobs is available in the trade and technical industries, including construction and manufacturing, as well as in the skilled-services industries in healthcare and financial services.   

A recent study undertaken by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found manufacturers need to hire four million workers from 2021 through 2030. These workers will fill positions created by industry growth and retirements from the workforce. The study predicts manufacturing companies will have difficulty filling at least 2.1 million positions, resulting from a lack of trained applicants.

Continue Darren Drake's Legacy

In remembrance of Drake, and as a lasting tribute to his lifelong love of and commitment to education, Moody’s Foundation provided the principal gift to establish the fund, which is advised by his parents. The public can continue Darren Drake's commitment to education and his legacy through donations made in his memory.

Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law, and may be made online at https://www.nnjcf.org/cause-posts/the-darren-drake-memorial-fund-memorializes-darren-scott-drake/. Contributions may also be sent by check made out to 'The Northern NJ Community Foundation' with 'Darren Drake Memorial Fund' entered in the memo line. ?Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact nnjcf@nnjcf.org or call 201-568-5608.


Founded in 1998, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, public health, the environment, philanthropy, and the arts. The NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life. The Foundation's partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other and sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.

For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org, send an email to nnjcf@nnjcf.org, or call (201) 568-5608.