Karen M. Casolaro grew up in West Orange. She is youngest daughter of Frank and Betty Gizzo and sister of Frank III and Kathy. It was in West Orange where she met and married her childhood sweetheart, John in 1989. She was an executive assistant to various companies including the MacArthur Petroleum & Chemical Company, St. Barnabas Medical Center, and Lorber, Nuzzi, Vichness, & Bilinkas Law Firm. In 1991, she left her career in order to raise her five children – Samantha, Johnny, Jackie and twins, Sally and Mattison. The Casolaro’s moved to Florham Park nineteen years ago where they raised their children and became actively involved with community organizations. Karen was the chairwoman of the Florham Park Municipal Alliance, Brownie Troop Leader, Class Mother and volunteered with the PTA. She has served as a Eucharistic Minister and taught CCD at Holy Family RC Church for many years.
In 2008, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her recovery, she received overwhelming support from not only her family and friends, but from the community at large. People that she did not know arrived daily to her home with food as well as offered compassion and kindness to her and her family. She began to realize how important it was to receive support when experiencing a sudden tragedy and decided she would find a way to “give back.”
In 2010, after her long recovery, Karen launched a non-profit charity, Halos For Angels, Inc. Her mission was to take action and help families in need who were experiencing a sudden tragedy or catastrophic event with immediate assistance. By helping neighbors help each other is something she understood as an Italian-American. To date, Halos For Angels has served over 120 families. She is very humbled to receive this prestigious award as the 2016 Woman of the Year by the East Hanover Italian American Club.