The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce has named Joel Markel, the founder and president of Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services (PHHC), Eatontown, one of its 2017 Citizens of the Year. The reception to honor Markel and other honorees is Thursday, November 9, 2017, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, 2 Augusta Boulevard, Lakewood, N.J.
PHHC is a company that provides a wide range of medical and non-medical home health care services from pediatric to geriatric care in eight locations throughout New Jersey and three in Pennsylvania. Markel prides himself on the fact that his agency gives the “highest degree of custodial and medical nursing care, along with giving guidance on the emotional issues families may face.”
Markel and his wife Stephanie, a retired dentist, are well known for their humanitarian and philanthropic work, including their ongoing support of the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation (ECF). Joel, now chairman emeritus, is past president of ECF, having served as president for three years in a row.
More than 20 years ago, the Markels had sought medical care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for their son Ryan who later died of liver cancer and other complications. Out of their strength from this experience, the Markels created the Ryan Markel Memorial Fund that supports a program to give children checkups at a West Philadelphia homeless shelter. This program has evolved into the HHI (Homeless Health Initiative).
Recently the Markels received a recognition award for their generosity and devotion to helping others through HHI. Today, hundreds of volunteers, including doctors, nurses, dentists, social workers, and specialists of all kinds, provide monthly free health and health-related services to children and their families in three emergency housing shelters.
Markel has also served on the board of Circle of Life Foundation, a New Jersey-based organization whose mission is to provide palliative care for seriously ill and dying children, and support for families.
In honor of Markel, Townsquare Media, Toms River, renamed its fourth floor WOBM-AM studio in the Bob Levy Broadcast Center, “The Preferred Home Health Care Studio.” For several years, Joel Markel has hosted his own radio show Preferred Company, a regional radio show that airs on five radio stations in New Jersey. During the show Markel and Marianne Levy discuss topics of interest to families, the senior community, and caregivers. Markel uses his passion for radio to promote many charitable and nonprofit causes, and to discuss various health and wellness topics.
Markel, the son of a Hungarian Auschwitz survivor, had long desired to contribute to the field of Holocaust memory to honor the experience of his mother and the millions of victims of the Jewish genocide. It was during a tour of the Roman Ghetto in 2004 that Markel first heard the story of Kappler’s Gold Extortion.
Joel wanted to bring this story to an American audience. As a result, Joel, the founder and executive producer of Ottimo Films, created Oro Macht Frei (Gold Will Set You Free), a 70-minute documentary that tells the story of the Roman Jewish experience during the Nazi occupation of Rome, September 1943 through June 1944. Oro Macht Frei won Best International Documentary out of 15 submissions at the 13th annual Garden State Film Festival (GSFF), Atlantic City. Joel is a member of Chhange – Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education.
Joel, who speaks English, Spanish and Hebrew fluently, grew up in Bensonhurst, New York. He graduated from CUNY Brooklyn with a B.S. in accounting. The Markels, 30-year residents of Monmouth County, have two sons. James is an attorney in New York; and Lane is a recent college graduate.