For several years, family-run HVAC and plumbing company A.J. Perri has been providing free heating, A/C, and air quality relief for veterans in need across New Jersey through its outreach program A.J. Perri Cares. Since its inception, the effort has provided and installed air conditioners, heating systems, smart-home technology, and air filtration systems for over numerous military families. However, the important story is not A.J. Perri Cares, but the personal tales of these veterans who sacrificed so much for their country.
The second A.J. Perri Cares recipient of 2019 was Angelo Scalo of Fairfield, a decorated Vietnam veteran and 4th Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus. During the Vietnam War, Angelo served in a boat unit that extracted downed soldiers and airmen in the Vietnam deltas and upriver, directly saving the lives of his fellow servicemen. Unfortunately, spending so much time in active war zones exposed him to dangerous amounts of Agent Orange, leaving his lungs and heart irreparably damaged. Since the early 1970s, Angelo has been on assisted oxygen and homebound – his weakened immune system does not allow him to be exposed to the public.
Nevertheless, even when faced with great challenges to his physical wellbeing that isolated him from the world outside his home, Mr. Scalo refused to turn away from his community. He has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for decades, and is a Fourth Degree member, conferring the title of Sir Knight. Each of the four degrees corresponds to and indicates a member exemplifies one of the four principles of the Order: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Less than one fifth of all members join the final Fourth Degree, which encourages active citizenship in members’ communities. Mr. Scalo is also the chairman of the local Knights chapter’s wheelchair program that provides disability equipment assistance and other forms of aid to veterans and others in need.
Angelo Scalo, like many veterans, has sacrificed much to serve his country, and faced incredible challenge and hardship in his life as a result. Yet his resolve to help those around him and lift up his community never faltered. A.J. Perri was happy to contribute and install a whole-home generator and central air conditioner so he can live in comfort. The company wishes the best to Sir Knight Angelo, his family and his brothers at the Knights of Columbus.
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