Extending his warmth

Asbury Local 6 member steps up to help resident left out in the cold

Asbury Park Local Member Joseph Leon received a call from State Delegate Eugene Dello asking him to check on a resident whose furnace went out in her building on the night of Dec. 16.  A nor’easter had dumped almost a foot of snow on parts of the state and brought the temperature down to single digits with the wind chill.

When Leon arrived at her door, the resident was surprised to see a law enforcement officer responding to a third-party call about a lack of heat. The resident, who worked as a DoorDash driver, got into a car accident due to the weather conditions. Her daughter, who was nine months pregnant and due in two weeks, was living upstairs. She was hoping to get in touch with her building superintendent since her own efforts came to no avail.

“She was just having a bad day,” Leon recalled. “And then the heat wasn’t working on probably the one day a year you need heat the most.”

Leon was able to get in touch with the superintendent, who relayed that he was aware of the issue but would not be able to solve it until the next morning. So his relentless urge to protect and serve and go above and beyond the call naturally took over.

Leon had stopped at Home Depot earlier in the day on his way to work to purchase a space heater for the gym in his garage. It was sitting in the trunk of his car.

“There was just no way I could sit there in good conscience knowing that I could do something for this lady,” he remarked. “So I said, ‘Give me two seconds,’ and drove to my car to give it to her.”

With the space heater in hand, Leon returned to find a nearly speechless and very appreciative resident and her daughter. Leon can’t recall her exact response but noted it was something along the lines of, “You saved us.”

When the resident insisted on giving back the heater after she was finished with it, Leon wouldn’t hear of it.

“You can borrow it for a day. You can borrow it forever — whatever you need,” he told her.

The morning after, Leon received a thankful text from the resident.

“I told her that maybe that’s why I went to Home Depot,” he shared. “I think I was meant to give the space heater to her.”

Leon emphasized that the resident’s appreciation was enough commendation for his efforts.

“It was a small gesture, a small sample of what officers do all the time without looking for recognition,” he noted. “If any other officer had showed up to the scene and had a heater in their car, I know for a fact they would have done the same thing.”