December 3, 2015 Franklin Township, N.J. a boy who is unable to communicate named Zion has problems among which is being non verbal and had been a runaway. His mother has a 3 year old that takes up much of her time and communication with the 16 year old Zion has been difficult. Zion recently ran away and officer Richard Hartnett found him. But not only did the Officer find him and return Zion home, he went above and beyond to help Zion in an unexpected way.
Officer Hartnett believes that because Zion is unable to communicate he is frustrated and attempted to help with the problem at it’s cause so the teen is less likely to run away again.
He sought the help of a local businessman who runs an electronics store named Jim O’Neil. O’Neil donated a $300.00 tablet that allows Zion to communicate effectively and express himself more clearly now with his family and others.
Officer Harnett hopes that his will help Zion in the future and the teens mother believes that this gift will do just that.
The boys mother Kimora Miller told Eyewitness News (WABC) “He can text basically whatever he wants,” Miller said. “If it’s ‘I want some water,’ and he sees the symbols, he can just press it.” “He wants to express himself, And I think once he’s able to, he can do so much more in life, especially as he gets older.”
Jim O’Neil who donated the gift at Officer Harnett’s urging said “It means a lot. You get a lot of gratification if this is something that can make his (Zion’s) life a lot easier.”
Officer Harnett said in his interview “When we go to a call all the time, and there has to be a root to the problem,” he said. “So I wanted to see what we could do to fix the problem, to prevent him from running away.”