CONTACT: M. “Peggy” Salisbury 908-771-5730;
 Norma T. Sheld 908-771-5815


Leonard Forgione Recognized for Dedicated Volunteer Work
at RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital

leonard forgione
Leonard Forgione of New Providence, Volunteer Guild President (center) proudly shows off his award from the Volunteer Management Centers, Inc. to Patricia Scott AD of Union (left), Director of Volunteer Services and Activities Therapy for RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital and Forgione’s wife Anne P. Forgione (right). The group was in the hospital’s Guilded Cage Gift Shop where “Len” and his wife volunteer part of their time at RUNNELLS. The gift shop carries a wide array of items ranging from figurines, frames and stuffed animals to everyday items including candy for those with a sweet tooth and greeting cards.

Many individuals go through life thinking only of their own needs and amusement, but Leonard Forgione of New Providence is not one of them. Forgione was honored by Volunteer Management Centers, Inc. (VMC), an organization that connects people who want to help, with community organizations most in need of volunteers.

Why does he deserve such recognition? Forgione has been a volunteer at RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County since August of 2000. He became a volunteer while his mother was a resident at the facility and he saw the need to help others adjust to their new home. His first volunteer job was in the coffee shop, where every Tuesday morning he gave a hearty greeting, a joke and service with a smile.

Soon he was asked by the RUNNELLS Hospital Volunteer Guild Executive Board to take a more active role in the affairs of the Guild. Within a year, Forgione was voted Vice President.

“Len” became Guild president, a post he has held for the past two years. Under his leadership, the Guild had raised over $30,000 from vendor sales and receipts from the Coffee and Guilded Cage Gift Shops; at the time of Len’s award nomination; both shops run by volunteers. Since then, the Guild has raised approximately an additional $5,000. The proceeds support resident entertainment and the purchase of TVs, DVD/VCRs as well as personal CD and tape players, personal care items, holiday and birthday gifts and other items to help make RUNNELLS home.

“Leonard is always working, first and foremost, on behalf of RUNNELLS residents and patients,” said Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS’ liaison. “He writes detailed reports of past earnings, sharing this information with the Freeholders and RUNNELLS’ Administrative staff, and recruits volunteers to run the Coffee and Gift Shops as well as volunteers for the rest of the facility. If someone can’t make their shift in the shops, he often works it for them.”

Since becoming part of the RUNNELLS family, Forgione has contributed over 1,820 hours of community service.

“It was my honor to nominate Len Forgione for the individual VMC Award,” noted Patricia Scott, Director of Volunteer Services and Activities Therapy. “His accomplishments help the RUNNELLS staff to enrich the lives of each and every resident and patient.”

Anyone who would like information on becoming a volunteer at RUNNELLS should call the Office of Volunteer Services at 908-771-5847. Volunteers are needed in the coffee and gift shops as well as other areas including extending the hand of friendship to residents who don’t have family or friendship contacts via the Friendly Visitor Program and escorting wheelchair residents to Occupational or Physical Therapy.