Mike Fitzsimmons has been a Pascack Valley resident for 35 years and a business owner in Westwood since 1999 when he opened a second location of his original Fort Lee store in the former Tom James Gallery on Westwood Avenue.
From 1986 until 2005 he was active with the local schools and his parish, St. Andrews. In 2005, he joined the newly re-formed Westwood chamber of commerce and worked on both the sidewalk sale and Home for the Holidays. He was elected president in 2008 and served as president for three years.
In 2009 the first “Taste of Westwood” was held as a joint venture benefiting both the chamber of commerce and the Friends of the Library. It has grown from 12 restaurants to over 30 and continues to be a social and fundraising success.
In 2013 he partnered with The Westwood- Washington Twp. Regional School District to host “WWRSD has Heart” an exhibit of art created by students in grades K thru 12 centered on the theme of what it means to have “heart”. Initially raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, it has become an annual competition and social event with the proceeds of the sales of prints and cards benefiting Artworks -The Naomi Cohain Foundation, which provides pediatric patients access to creative arts programs that serve as a vehicle for healing, communication, and self-expression.
In 2014, he assumed the role of parade coordinator for Westwood’s Home for the Holidays, an event near to his heart, as it brings so many fond memories to residents and visitors alike. Every year since 1999 he has hosted live music and hospitality in his gallery right after the parade.
As a parishioner at St, Andrews Catholic church in Westwood he has been on the liturgy committee since 1986, and has served as a catechist, member of parish council, and on the Centennial committee. In 2016 he was awarded the Jim and Evelyn Brawley award for 30 years of service to the parish.
Within the larger community, Mike has served on the community leadership group of HUMC at Pascack Valley, the Westwood Creative Team, and the Friends of the Library.
For many years, he has devoted his considerable energies and talents toward making The Pascack Valley a caring community in which we are all proud to live in and call home.