By Freeholder Tom Arnone
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, Monmouth County is a great place to live and work. I’ve had the opportunity in the last couple of weeks to see firsthand just how generous and compassionate our residents truly are and I could not be more proud to call this County my home.
One benefit I recently attended helped raise funds for the victims of devastating earthquakes in Italy, specifically in the town of Amatrice. Through the coordination of local residents, this benefit was a great way for our area to pay it forward to those in need. As we witnessed in the days, months and even years since Superstorm Sandy, the generosity of others – especially strangers from all parts of the world – can go a long way to bringing back a sense of normalcy.
I was also able to attend a ceremony with Freeholder John Curley, and state and elected officials, to honor the late Sen. Joseph Palaia at Wayside Elementary School. Joe was a dedicated public servant who served as a councilman and mayor, freeholder, state assemblyman and then state senator. He was also an educator and a principal. I was honored to join his daughter, Denise, the principal of Wayside Elementary, as well as several other family members, friends, colleagues, teachers and students, as we took time to honor Joe’s life and legacy in Ocean Township, Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey.
Looking ahead, I’m happy to announce I’ll be participating in the Ashley Lauren Foundation’s Annual Butterfly Ball “Dancing For Our Stars” competition on Feb. 25 at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch. I will be competing against fellow Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Carol Stillwell and Tom Corley, in a dance competition during the ball. I’ve been rehearsing for the competition with my dance partner, none other than Ashley Lauren, herself.
For those of you who don’t know, the Ashley Lauren Foundation provides financial, material and emotional assistance to families facing pediatric cancer. Ashley Lauren’s family started the nonprofit after seeing firsthand how devastating pediatric cancer can be, when Ashley was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three years old. Over the course of the last decade, this foundation has done a tremendous job supporting local families and I could not be more honored to be part of such a great cause. To learn more, visit the foundation’s website www.ashleylaurenfoundation.org.
Now, getting back to business, I recently presented a check to another small business as a continuation of the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program. LabScientific in Highlands received funding through this program that helped them increase their curb appeal by painting the trim and exterior of their building. To date, the program has dispersed over $120,000 to Monmouth County businesses. To learn more about this program, call 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com.
Lastly, I’d like to thank all public works crews who helped clear our roads during last week’s snowstorm.