New Chair Lift For Vietnam Vet With Heart Condition

Joseph Salonia is a Vietnam Veteran who was born and raised in New Jersey. He loved this country and decided to volunteer for the military in 1965. His job was in the Motor Pool as an Ordnance Supply and Parts Specialist. He served for 6 years between Lodi, NJ and Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Joseph received honorable discharge in 1971. 

He went on to work as a programmer for Fischer Steven Inc for 16 years and then took a job as a Direct Mail Manager for The Hibbert Group in Trenton. Joseph, being an extremely dedicated and diligent worker, drove 75 miles each way for 26 years. Even when he retired in 2011 he worked from home for an additional 2 years. 

In 2014 Joseph thought he had poison ivy and went to the doctor for a check up only to find he actually had Shingles which were blocking 2 veins in his heart. He needed open heart surgery. Luckily, all was okay after his surgery and Joseph started a new job as a way to “Pay it Forward”. 

“..thanking God that I came through the heart surgery great...it was for a company that helped seniors in their tough times. I drove them around to food shop, doctor appointments, and to and from nursing homes. On occasion [I] cooked meals in their home.” 

In 2017 Joseph still wanted to do more. He is an old school, hard working, American veteran and couldn’t help but want to continue to find some way to keep serving his community. He took up a job at the local BJ’s Wholesale Club. He worked there until March 2020 when NJ became one of the epicenters of COVID19.

Now, Joseph is still forced out of work. Due to his past heart condition, he is at high risk and his doctor does not want him working in an environment with a lot of outside contact. Joseph said, “I spoke to my old boss as recent as last week and she told me they would save my job until I am ready to come back to work” 

Joseph goes to doctor appointments for swelling in his legs and for his heart every few months. He also has a pulmonary check up once a year. He struggles to get around since his legs have become weak and recently, he could not get up and down the steps without fear of falling. He only felt safe walking down the steps backwards... which was making his wife of 55 years, extremely terrified. 

Joseph and his wife would have to pay $5,000 out of their own pocket to have a mechanical chair lift installed. Through friend’s of Joseph who reached out to us, we were able to get the project started and raise the money to have the chair lift installed. Joseph and his wife were incredibly grateful and the most humble people to work with.  

After Joseph sacrificed for our country on his own volition and never stopped working to serve his community - it was the least we could do to show our gratitude. If you would like to contribute to more projects like Joseph’s, please visit our donate page or call us at 201.660.8364.