LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The blare of sirens filled a normally quiet Livingston neighborhood Sunday as police lined up along the tree lined street as a show of support and love for the Gendel family.

“We haven’t seen a smile that big in a while,” Erica Gendel told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.

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Josh Gendel was the guest of honor for a parade filled with police, EMTs, friends and strangers that just wanted to say hey. The 20-year-old has numerous conditions and he requires full-time care. The coronavirus is making a demanding job even more difficult for his parents, who were by his side as they watched the motorcade drive by.

“We have not been to anywhere (since March 8). It’s too dangerous. So this was like,” Erica said.

Like a breath of fresh air they say they really wanted.

“To be able to spend some time outside and be celebrated like that. Yes? The smile says it all,” said Josh’s dad, Steven Gendel.


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The festive group had more than a dozen stops on their parade route Sunday, at each one was a child with special needs.

“We want to let them know that the community is there for them,” said Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum of Friendship Circle.

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Grossbaum runs a center where the kids of all ages typically spend  their time. He wanted to remind the families that the town is still by their side, even when they’re stuck inside.

“We always work really hard to keep high energy in our house so having everyone with that energy is huge for us,” Steven Gendel said.

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Josh Gendel turns 21 next week He’s also going In for surgery. His parents said the parade gave him the extra energy he’ll need.