by Phil Corso | The Daily Harrison, New York
Joseph Acocella's casket made its way to a local church. The mood was somber as the town reflected on the inspiring life of the late clerk.
Acocella died Monday at 30 years old from medical complications. He was awaiting a kidney transplant at the time of his death.
"We mourn his passing," Harrison Mayor/Supervisor Joan Walsh said. "He was a valued friend and coworker who had great courage and adversity,"
The funeral procession closed Halstead Avenue from Harrison Avenue to Oak Street and the town hall also remained closed until noon in Acocella's honor.
Acocella worked alongside Deputy Clerk Angela Tamucci and Senior Clerk Diana Minishi in the town's municipal building.
"We're going to go on as best as Joe would have expected," Minishi said. "He was a fighter and dedicated his life to this job."
Tamucci said Acocella was an adored town figure while fighting back tears.
"He was Harrison," Tamucci said. "We have to go on for him."
His funeral mass was Friday morning at 10 a.m. at St. Gregory the Great church on Halstead Avenue.
Acocella, born July 14, 1981, became the youngest clerk in New York State when he was elected in 2007. Acocella was running for re-election when he died.
His medical ailments included kidney problems, but were also related to his Lumbar Sacral Agenesis, which led to the amputation of both his legs at three years old.
In May 2008, Acocella recieved the New York State Assembly Excelsior Award for Excellence in Albany forhis work on organ & tissue donation awareness, according to his website.