This article was originally published in Newsday on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008. This article was written by Kimberley A. Martin. A PDF of this article as it originally appeared in Newsday is available by clicking this link (pdf).
Brian Ferraiolo easily could have been one of them. Confmed to a wheelchair, unable to move his extremities. Or perhaps, worse. - He had been just 8 years old when the work van carrying him, his father and younger sister was struck by a car that ran a stop sign. The force of the crash sent him flying forward, snapping his seat belt and slamming his head into the rearview Inirror. The large gash under his right eye was filled with glass. Blood flowed down his face. Looking back, Ferraiolo knows he was lucky. "I could've went blind in my one eye," he said, holding his helmet as the Spartans practiced behind him. "I could've been crippled and I wouldn't even have played football. I'm blessed." The Valley Stream North running back could have been like one of the many patients at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children in Bayside, Queens. ·Forced to face his own mortality, trying to maintain a smile despite the hardships. This is why Spartans coach Tom Schiavo wanted his players to spend time at the hospital. A life can change in an instant. And he wanted them never to forget. Schiavo had spent months contacting local hospitals, in search of a place where he and his players could offer a few hours of face-time. He was often told to do a fundraiser or donate goods. But the coach wanted to do more. "I wanted them to feel what it was like to give of themselves and how rewarding that is," Schiavo said. "Because I thought that was the most important thing they could give - more than money or anything else." Then, Holy Cross football coach Tom Pugh told him about St. Mary's. Within three weeks, the Spartans were at the hospital, playing and making name tags with patients, ages 4 to 16. Many of the children are terminally ill. There are those who don't look sick at all, despite the cancer that weakens their bodies. Some are burn victims. Others sit in wheelchairs, paralyzed as a result of car accidents or birth defects. Before the start of this foot' Dall season, the Spartans visited the hospital again.
This article was originally published in Newsday on Thursday, February 3, 2011. This article was written by Joye Brown. A PDF of this article as it originally appeared in Newsday is available by clicking this link.
Kendall Levy and Marvin Voltaire, students at Valley Stream North High School, were 20 minutes late for class this morning because of their good deed: They helped an older couple push a car so that one of them could get to work.
This was no quick and simple push, mind you; the young men ended up knee-deep in an icy water puddle as cars whizzed by, during an icy rain, on one of the busiest and most dangerous roads in the community.
Levy and Voltaire refused the North Valley Stream couple's offer of cash for helping to push the dead car out of the driveway, through that monster puddle and up a steep bump onto the side of Dutch Broadway to free the couple's other, working car.
And then the pair helped push the dead car from the street back into the driveway again.
"It was so icy, so slippery and they were working so hard that I was afraid I was going to end up giving somebody CPR in that puddle," said Elaine Treske, 70, a retired nurse, who graduated from the same high school in 1958 and was a member of its first graduating class.
The young men said they didn't tell a soul at school why they were late; or why they were soaked through to the skin, with sopping wet shoes. Levy's pants were torn at one kneecap - he ripped them on the side of the car's license plate - and wet up to the knees; Voltaire got lucky because he discovered a pair of dry socks in his backpack.
But while Levy sat in philosophy, and Voltaire was off at Spanish class, Elaine Treske called the principal's office. "I wanted them to be excused for lateness," she said. "I also wanted to be sure they got dry clothes and dry shoes."
The young men were stunned when they were called to the office of Principal Cliff Odell "I wanted to check on them and to tell them how proud we are of them," Odell said. Later, an assistant principal would seek them out to shake their hands.
Even then, Levy and Voltaire would say later, they didn't tell their friends about doing a good deed. "I don't know." Kendall said. "It was what we are supposed to do, I didn't think it was a big deal."
Levy, 17, is a junior who plays, and he said, loves, football. He was walking to school when Mark Treske asked for help. Levy and Treske had been working to move the car for more than 10 minutes when Voltaire. 18, a senior whose dream is to attend John Jay College in Manhattan and study criminal law, drove by. "I thought there was an accident," said Voltaire, who also plays sports at the school. "I stopped to help."
Together, the young men and Treske freed the way for Treske to drive the couple's one working car out of the driveway. Treske parked it in a neighbor's driveway and then the three worked together to push the nonworking car back into the couple's driveway - where, mid-morning. it was still waiting for a tow to a service station. Treske then went to work in Merrick.
"I tried to give them money," Elaine Treske said. "They aggressively waved me away and said. 'This is kind of what we are supposed to do: "
Odell said the two would be recognized by the school And, he said, he's grateful that Treske called to let officials know what had happened. "I know these two and they would do something like this and never say a thing about it," Odell said. "It's a testament to them as fine young men, and to their parents."
Levy said the pair never thought about accepting money.
"It would diminish a good deed and why would you want to diminish a good deed?" he said. "There comes a time when everybody needs help. and everybody deserves to get help."
"When you do something good, it comes back, like karma," Voltaire said.