Union Beach, N.J., Resident Robert LaBerta, a Verizon Employee, to Be Honored July 3 at Destination America’s ‘Red, White and You’ Contest Celebration

LaBerta’s Essay on Why Union Beach Deserves an All-American Celebration Selected From More Than 3,500 Entries

UNION BEACH, N.J. – Robert LaBerta, a Union Beach resident and Verizon outside plant technician based in Freehold, will be honored at a July 3 celebration hosted by cable television channel Destination America in Union Beach, one of two winning towns in the channel’s Red, White and You contest.

LaBerta had submitted an essay about why Union Beach deserved a one-of-a-kind, all-American celebration.  His essay, which described the tremendous acts of courage and kindness in Union Beach following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, was selected from more than 3,500 essays submitted nationwide.

The celebration, to be held near the intersection of Florence Avenue and Front Street, will begin at 6 p.m.  Destination America will treat Union Beach residents to a special barbecue party with Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone, stars of the channel’s hit series, “BBQ Pitmasters.”  Adam Gertler, host of “Last Call Food Brawl,” will serve as master of ceremonies at the event.  The Mavericks, a Grammy-award winning band highlighted most recently at this year’s nationally televised County Music Awards, will perform.  The celebration also will include local bands, kids’ activities, giveaways, food and fireworks.

Dennis Gill, Verizon’s area manager, will be on hand to introduce LaBerta, who will be recognized at the celebration for his contest-winning essay.

“Robert’s essay captured the spirit of the residents of Union Beach as the community came together to recover from the effects of Sandy,” said Erik Sheehan, Verizon director of operations in New Jersey.  “We are proud of Robert and congratulate him on this great honor.  Not only is he a great representative for Verizon, he is an outstanding representative of Union Beach.”

Destination America, carried by major cable TV providers like Verizon’s FiOS TV, is a television network that features travel, food, adventure, home and natural history, with original series like “BBQ Pitmasters,” “A Haunting, Epic” and “Buying Alaska.” For more information, visit http://america.discovery.com/.

Destination America partnered with national weekly magazine USA WEEKEND for the first Red, White and You contest, awarding two deserving communities a one-of-a-kind Fourth of July celebration. Launched in March, the contest asked folks across the country to put their patriotism on display to prove why their respective towns were most deserving of an over-the-top Independence Day party. With more than 3,500 entries, the two grand-prize winners proved to be very worthy communities: Union Beach, N.J., a coastal town still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and Fayetteville, N.C., a community that zealously supports its military partners at Fort Bragg. Five runner-up towns were awarded $1,000 each to be used toward one of the following local organizations: Parks and Recreation Department, YMCA/YWCA, or Habitat for Humanity.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with nearly 99 million retail connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 181,900.  For more information, visit about.verizon.com.

USA WEEKEND Magazine is the national weekly that empowers America to start taking action every weekend, with 22.6 million circulation and 50 million readers in print and online. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND is an action based news source for people throughout the country who look for real stories behind change and a source for American families to find food, health, family and celebrity information. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), publication. Find us on Twitter and Facebook and visit usaweekend.com.

About Destination America
Destination America is the only network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States. The inclusive network targeting Adults 25-54 is available in 60 million homes, emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. Destination America features travel, food, adventure, home, and natural history, with original series like “BBQ Pitmasters,” “A Haunting”, “Epic” and “Buying Alaska.” For more information, please visit DestinationAmerica.com, facebook.com/DestinationAmerica, or twitter.com/DestAmerica. Destination America is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s  No.1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 218 countries and territories.