NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With one out of every six New York City police officers out sick or in quarantine, those still healthy are making sacrifices, including a dedicated Staten Island detective living apart from his cancer-stricken wife and kids so he won’t infect them.
CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer has their story.
NYPD Det. Joseph Bonner’s Staten Island home is cherry red and exuberantly decorated to express the hope and optimism of the Easter season. What it doesn’t show, unless you’re there for his twice daily curbside visits, are the extraordinary lengths the 24-year veteran is going through to both protect the city and his family.
“I want to say I love Dad and I really, really miss him,” said 5-year-old Aoife Bonner.
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“Social distancing with a family member makes me very upset. I wish you were just here,” said 7-year-old Nuala Bonner.
“I know baby, but we’ve got to do it to make sure everybody’s safe,” said Det. Bonner.
He’s living in a rented room to protect his wife Holly, who has bladder cancer. Twice a day he stops by to collect meals, laundry and express love from a distance. It’s hard on everyone, especially the kids.
“They’re having a really hard time. They miss their father a lot. They understand that what he’s doing is important for the city, and they know how much daddy loves his job. But they’re 5 and 7, they want daddy home,” Holly said.
“I bet you want daddy there with you, too,” said Kramer.
“Yeah. I do want. I’s not just that he’s gone, but I think because of my illness I just worry constantly,” Holly said. “What happens if he gets it? What happens if something happens to him? They already have a mom that has cancer.”
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The kids draw pictures to tuck in with their father’s meals. Last night, it was spaghetti and meatballs: His favorite.
Holly says she’s proud of his dedication.
“I know that he’s doing his job, and he’s trying to protect the people of New York. At this point in his career, he could throw his shield on a desk and say ‘I’m done.’ But he won’t do that,” Holly said.
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Holly Bonner isn’t the only one who’s proud of her husband. Paul DiGiacomo is president of the Detectives Endowment Association.
“He is a true hero,” DiGiacomo said. “He took the oath to serve the people of this great city and he’s doing just that.”
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan has a message for the family.
“Thank you for allowing Joe to come to work and to serve this city. We need him, we really do. I pray for you,” Monahan said.
Joe Bonner has a tradition. After stowing his things, he drives by the house and honks.