Reflecting upon the past eight months, campaigning for New Providence Borough Council has been a tremendous experience.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many thoughtful, talented and generous people.  So many wonderful people including residents who quietly give back in their own unique way to our town so that it can be the welcoming, caring and compassionate community that it is today. 

In order to help residents learn more about me, I have discussed my educational background, professional designations, applicable experience and the skill sets that I would bring to the Borough Council in order to add value.  Residents know by my actions over the last 20 years my level of commitment and history of service to our community.  I have published my thoughts and ideas on many important issues facing the community and have been honored to have received countless endorsement letters of support. I also had the pleasure of participating in our boroughs “Candidates Night” which is available on YouTube. I would strongly encourage any resident who has not seen it to watch the video. Most of all, I have enjoyed the interactions and valuable input that I have received from friends and residents while walking door to door in our neighborhoods, greeting commuters at our train stations and participating in town events. 

Now as I sit at my computer three days before the election, there is something else I want to share with you.  It is the unique perspective through which I see the world.  At the age of 24, I received double cornea transplants that restored my vision and forever changed my life.

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It started when I was 17 years old. While playing baseball in high school, I noticed I was having difficulty seeing the ball. It quickly became apparent that I was experiencing a serious decline in my vision.  After many trips to various eye specialists, I was diagnosed with a condition called Keratoconus.

Over time, this condition damaged both of my corneas (which are the outer window of the eye,) causing them to become distorted and cone-shaped. Left untreated, it would have continued to degrade my vision.

While working long hours in public accounting, the special contact lenses that I was using were no longer effective. It was at this time that it was recommended by my doctor that I have cornea transplants in both eyes.

My first transplant was in my left eye, and the gift of that donor cornea came to me with the assistance of the Lions Eye Bank of Texas. The gift of my second donor cornea, for my right eye, was procured with the assistance of the Lions Eye Bank of NJ and NJ Sharing Network. This is an organization that saves and enhances lives every day by serving as the organ procurement organization in the State of New Jersey. 

Today, fate has brought me full circle, as I proudly serve as the Controller of the New Providence based NJ Sharing Network. Yes, the same organization that played a role in restoring vision to my right eye.

I tell you this because when I received my corneas, I was not only given the gift of sight but also given the gift of perspective.

Despite my attempts to express my gratitude to the loved ones of those who have given me the gift of sight, I have not been able to obtain the names of my donor families.  However, what I do have is the perspective to know that there were two human beings who came from two caring and generous families who in their darkest hour made a compassionate decision which ultimately provided me with the gift of sight.

Today, I look out of the eyes of two other individuals.  I don’t know if they were a man or woman, old or young, their race or religion. 

These are the eyes through which I see the world. This is the perspective I would bring to our New Providence Borough Council.  The perspective to see the good in all people.  The perspective to know that what binds us as humans is so much bigger than any difference we may think that we have.  The perspective to welcome all and to bring people together. 

I think we can all agree that in today’s world, more than ever, this perspective is both valuable and needed.   

I am fortunate to be the husband of a loving wife and father of three wonderful children.  I am also fortunate to work for an organization that is so special to me and be able to give back to New Providence, the community that I love.  I have chosen this path because I find it tremendously fulfilling and because I have a great deal to be thankful for.

It has been my sincere pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve our community in many capacities over the years. If elected, it would be an honor and a privilege to serve you as your Councilman. 

Peter DeSarno