Posted Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Official Trio Nominated to Join The Arc of New Jersey’s Heroes of 2020
State Senator Anthony Bucco, Former Hanover Township Mayor Ron Francioli and Morris County Administrator John Bonanni were praised by the Morris County Freeholders today on learning they were named by The Arc/Morris Chapter to be honored among The Arc of New Jersey Heroes of 2020 for their rescue and support for people with disabilities who were stricken by COVID-19 in March.
“Mayor Francioli, County Administrator Bonanni and Senator Bucco were true heroes of 2020 for The Arc/Morris Chapter,” said William Testa, Executive Director of Arc/Morris Chapter.
He nominated the public officials to join others around the state who will be honored for supporting Arc of New Jersey chapters during the difficult past year. Bucco is Senator in the 25th District of New Jersey, Bonanni is at the helm of Morris County government and Francioli, who remains a Hanover Committeeman, stepped down from the Mayor seat earlier this year.
“These stellar leaders of Morris County have always looked out for the most vulnerable populations in our county. Their swift and decisive response to protect the residents of Arc group homes while the pandemic was wreaking havoc across our state is a testament to their dedication to everyone in Morris County. We are honored to have them in our community and proud they are being recognize for their effort,” said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith.
The trio were instrumental in getting personal protection
equipment (PPE) and new lodging for the people with disabilities living in Arc/Morris Group Homes as COVID-19 began to hit residents and care workers alike. The crisis began March 26 for Arc/Morris, after a resident of a Hanover Township group home fell and struck his head
The incident triggered a series of mandated protocols that resulted in the resident being taken to the hospital, being admitted and testing positive for COVID-19 by the next day.
“Hanover Township Mayor Ron Francioli and Morris County
Administrator John Bonanni were the first called that fateful night of March 27, when the first diagnosis of COVID-19 was confirmed. Understanding our fear that the system would suffer a massive worker shortage, they immediately got to work securing additional PPE and scouring the acute and long term care system to prepare for the worst,” said Testa.
The worst was finding additional beds in other facilities to house populations of Arc residents who became ill and had to be separated. Arc also worked to protect staff from the pandemic.
“This is where Senator Bucco, Administrator Bonanni and Mayor Francioli shined. Working with anyone necessary, they were able to secure numerous options to bridge the acute care and long term care needs by finding beds to support our residents until they were free of infection,” Testa wrote in a nomination document to honor the three public officials.
“Along with enabling access to the highest levels of state government, planting the seed for additional direct care funding and securing PPE, they worked day and night in any way necessary to support their constituents with special needs,” he added.