CLARK, NJ -- A.J. Perri, a leading plumbing and heating company in New Jersey for nearly 50 years, recently installed a free hot water heater for a deserving “Healthcare Hero” who is fighting COVID-19 on the front lines. 

Carla Biondi, a registered nurse from Clark, NJ, is the deserving recipient of a brand new 40 gallon gas water heater. A.J. Perri covered all costs for the equipment, installation and permits. Biondi works 14 hour days at two jobs, is a cancer survivor, contracted and has since recovered from the COVID-19 virus, and has had to reschedule her wedding twice due to the pandemic. 

“We came together and decided we wanted to give back to our communities,” said Andrew Gamatko, Plumbing Department Manager at A.J. Perri. The company announced a contest across local media outlets in New Jersey to give away a new hot water heater to all first responders, which included health care workers during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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Biondi’s longtime friend Jill Callan heard one of those announcements and immediately thought of Biondi. She then wrote a letter to nominate her friend. “Carla is such a deserving person in general. She always gives and gives and gives to other people and nobody ever gives back to her,” said Callan. “She really sacrificed not only her family, but her own safety to take care of sick patients.”

Biondi described how she came to be infected by the coronavirus. She was working at the bedsides of residents at a long-term health care facility, locations which were among the hardest hit in New Jersey. “One of my patients was really getting very sick and I ran into the COVID unit--I didn’t have a shield on,” she said. “I was trying to get her to take a spoon of water and she just coughed all over me. I’m certain that’s when I contracted it.” 

“Carla Biondi’s a really good person,” Gamatko said. “Meeting Ms. Biondi has been everything that I’ve read of her.” Not only did Biondi meet and exceed all the criteria for the contest, the new heater came in handy. Her prior hot water heater was 14 years old, and with a wedding coming up and her son headed to college in the fall, she had been putting off purchasing a new one, though she knew it was failing. 

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how much we needed it,” said Biondi. “It means a lot.” 

This contest is part of a nationwide initiative by A.J. Perri’s parent company, ARS/Rescue Rooter, who is installing free equipment for dozens of healthcare heroes throughout the U.S. as part of its “ARS Cares” program. That same week, A.J. Perri also installed a free home HVAC system for another frontline health care worker in Ocean County, NJ. Learn more about this initiative at www.ars.com/ars-cares.