Sharing his knowledge

Larry Thornton, helping out on a science project with, from left, student Tasha Santiago-O’Keefe; teaching assistant Kim White; and teacher Peggy Zappulla.

Larry Thornton started out volunteering one day a week in a classroom at The Matheny School. That one day has turned into three. The retired paper manufacturing executive lives in nearby Gladstone, and says, “Obviously, I enjoy this immensely. Coming here has been a real eye-opener for me to see this marvelous institution and what the staff members do to make the lives of these children as normal as possible.”

In addition to his classroom duties, Thornton had volunteered at Miles for Matheny, is a former member of the Board of Trustees at the now defunct McAuley School in North Plainfield, NJ and is a past Grand Knight at the Knights of Columbus Council of Blessed Sacrament Church in Martinsville. The KOC Council recently donated $720 to Matheny. Earlier this spring, Thornton helped out at Matheny’s “March Madness” event to raise money for the American Heart Association. During the event, our front parking lot was closed off and transformed into several adapted basketball courts.

Since the majority of Matheny students and patients are full-time residents, volunteers such as Larry Thornton are needed days, evenings and weekends. Individuals can serve as classroom aides, recreation assistants, tutors or just friendly visitors. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282; or email

Thornton at Hoops for Hearts with student Yasin Reddick.