Smiles of the Week 5.22

Tell us what made you smile this week, and it may appear in our next issue of the paper. Email: comm.engage@strausnews.com

18 May 2020 | 04:32

Go Army! Beat COVID!

Highlands Lakes resident, Army veteran Sgt. Joseph Calcagno, is on a new mission: “Operation COVID: Help Our Local Hospitals.”

The local veteran is running approximately six miles every day around Highland Lake while carrying the American flag to raise spirits—and hospital donations. He started running on May 13 and has already raised over $2,000.

“I'm a local boy and a veteran of the US Army's First Cavalry Division and after that, the New Jersey National Guard. If I've ever done anything well, it was soldiering and leading soldiers, and in this time of pandemic national crisis I have been struggling to figure out how to fight,” Calcagno explained on his GoFundMe page.

“My sister and the wife of a good friend of mine are among our medical heroes working at our local hospitals and fighting on the frontlines against COVID-19. They have both expressed the dire seriousness of this disease and their fight to keep patients alive and on the road to recovery.

“While running the 5.5 or 6 miles of Highland Lake I saw a lot of people in as much need of hope as I am. So I got an idea. I ordered an American flag, and, rain or shine, I'll be running Old Glory around Highland Lake every day I'm physically able ... I will donate the funding I receive directly to Newton and Hackettstown Medical Centers to get our troops the gear they need to whoop this enemy's ass.

Every little bit helps, and they need our support. So let's show them some love, Hooah?”

Find his GoFundMe page by visiting: bit.ly/operationcovid

Taking care of our seniors

Freeholder Josh Hertzberg, Mohawk House, and Nielsen Automotive Group teamed up to deliver more than 160 meals of Mohawk House’s signature “elevated comfort food” to all residents at the Knoll Heights senior community in Sparta, N.J., last Wednesday, May 13.

“We realize these seniors have been on lockdown for quite a while, and figured a nice meal would benefit their mental health at this time, brighten their days, and let them know someone cares,” said Bill Snouffer, GM of Nielsen Automotive Group.

Mohawk House cooked the meals from scratch, Hertzberg rolled up his sleeves to help with plating and delivery, and the Nielsen Automotive team used one of their trucks to transport the meals to Knoll Heights.

“It was just really nice to show them how much we appreciate them. I used to get to work with the seniors a lot when I was the mayor in Sparta, so for me to be able to show them that I’m still thinking about them, and that they’re important to us, was nice,” says Hertzberg. “The staff at Knoll Village was awesome. They were so happy that we were doing this for them that they mobilized their entire staff, and did door-to-door delivery.”

The food was delivered safely while maintaining social distancing via golf carts that dropped off meals from one home to the next.

“We watched people coming out of their doors with smiles on their faces,” says Mohawk House’s Steve Scro. “It was a big hit.”

From the (remote) newsroom

Our editorial team had a big Zoom meeting last week with the next generation of journalists: the 5th grade news team at Montgomery Elementary School in Orange County, N.Y. Despite school being closed, this group of students is diligently producing articles every month with some help from their teachers, Jackie Gollinger and Melissa Nogueira.

The kids were ready with questions: Is it hard getting a newspaper done with everyone working from home? What’s your favorite part about being an editor? What’s your favorite thing to write about?

And so were we. What do you like about writing? What’s your favorite thing to write? What made you interested in joining your school’s journalism team?

Their responses were insightful. Here’s just a few takeaways we’d like to share:

· Read and write about what you’re interested in, like Erich, who is a history buff, and Maddy, an animal-lover who wants to shed light on the many pets in need of homes.

· Do something that you’re passionate about, like Sadie, who got into journalism because she loves to investigate until she finds the truth that lies at the center of each story.

· Writing poetry and fiction is fun—and can be a stress reliever.