North Warren Street in Trenton holds a lot of meaning to Dan Haggerty.
He and his parents, Dan and Loretta, lived in a small apartment at house number 129 owned by his grandfather, a doctor who also owned numbers 127 and 131.
Fast forward about 40 years, and you might find Haggerty nearby at 132 North Warren more often than not. It’s where Catholic Charities is located, and over the years, the Lawrence resident has become one of its most dedicated donors and volunteers. That’s why he’s being honored at the organization’s Guardian Angel Dinner Dance as the Light of Hope for Mercer County Sept. 23, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton.
“Dan has been a supporter and a partner with us for over 20 years,” said Nancy Tompkins, director of development and marketing for Catholic Charities. “Without that private support, we wouldn’t be able to help the 100,000 people a year that come to us for support. He has been a significant donor for us.”
Haggerty, 67, was born in Saint Francis Hospital and lived in Trenton with his parents, both teachers, for several years before moving to Lower Makefield Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He attended St. Joe’s Prep, a Jesuit high school in Philadelphia, before going on to Georgetown University, where he met his wife, Janice, also a Mercer County native. After graduation, he stayed in Washington, D.C. and studied law at George Washington University. He graduated in 1975.
After finishing law school, Haggerty worked at a D.C. firm for three years. He and Janice decided to come back to the Trenton area in 1978. They’ve lived in the same Pine Knoll Drive home ever since.
“If we didn’t do it when we were young, it would get harder as we got more established in my career down in Washington,” he said. “In 1978, we decided to pull up stakes and head home and start our family. We did think that this would be a better environment in which to bring up our family because we have family here.”
Haggerty recently retired after several decades as a shareholder at Stark & Stark, though he still retains an office on the property. He was a member of the Real Estate, Zoning and Land Use group at the firm and practiced real estate law for over 30 years. Haggerty’s experience allowed him to do a good deal of pro bono work over the years, particularly in housing. He often represents organizations like HomeFront when they present housing plans before planning boards and zoning boards.
He and Janice have four children, Tim, 36, Pat, 34, John, 31, and Jill, 26. Jill is a teacher in Baltimore, and all three sons are lawyers in New York (Tim), Philadelphia (Pat) and Newark (John). They also have three grandchildren, Kate, 5, Graham, 3, and Ben, 2.
Haggerty coached Lawrence Little League teams when his children were young and was involved with the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association. He is a founding member of the Lawrence Township Education Foundation and the Lawrence Township Community Foundation. He and Janice go to St. Ann’s Church in Lawrence, and Janice is Eucharist minister at Morris Hall.
“I think [volunteering] is just a part of our lives,” he said. “We’ve been really blessed. We’ve got a great family, a great community, and we’ve had the opportunity to be involved. We’re thankful for that opportunity. I think the bottom line is people are good. Volunteering gives you a terrific opportunity to be around really good people.”
Haggerty first got involved with Catholic Charities about 30 years ago. He and Janice attended the first-ever Guardian Angel dance 27 years ago.
“I always felt the urgency and the need to respect the importance of being of service to others, which is really a motto of the Jesuit order, to be of service to others,” he said. “I’m also a big fan of Pope Francis. He’s really spoken very eloquently over the years about I guess the social concerns and social justice imperatives of our Catholic faith…If I had to say what two words are the most imperative to me that I hear uttered by Pope Francis, it’s mercy and poverty. And there be Catholic Charities.”
Haggerty said he is humbled to receive the Light of Hope award and calls himself a “worker bee.”
“I agreed to accept the award in humility because I know how important it is to raise awareness for Catholic Charities,” he said. “This is good stuff that needs to be done, and it takes a lot of money to do it. That’s why I’m happy to share this award with the people of Catholic Charities, the staff, the board members, the volunteers and the clients. I look at it as a shared award that will hopefully help in its mission.”
That mission, Haggerty said, ranges from helping residents cover rent one month to helping someone who is homeless find housing, or helping somebody with months’ worth of unpaid utility bills. He donates both money and his time to the organization, said Tompkins.
“Volunteering just embodies who he is,” she said. “He does it because he believes that we’re here to help others and to serve our brothers and sisters in need. Whether it’s Catholic Charities or other organizations, that really comes from his heart.”
For more information or to attend the dance, visit catholiccharitiestrenton.org.