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Going To Bat For Sal

Much like any other Friday afternoon, on Aug. 1, the Over the Hill Gang held its weekly softball games at Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale. However, this was no ordinary occasion for the men’s 40 and over softball league, which was playing to help raise funds for nine-year-old Sal Pugliese Jr., who has been dealing with Perthes Disease—which affects the hipbone.

 

“It’s awesome. This is what makes things happen... the fundraisers,” said Pugliese Jr.’s grandfather Anthony Betro. “Not covered by insurance so we’re relying on donations and the support of the community. That’s what makes the country great. Everybody pitches in when there’s need and magic happens. That’s what’s happening now.” 

 

Each year, for the past 30 years, the OTHG has held an annual fundraiser to help those in need. Last year, they raised $20,000 and hope to do the same for Sal.  

 

OTHG President Jim Reilly explained that each year, the league pools its money together. “Whatever is left over in our ‘kitty,’ we put on the side for charity,” Reilly said. “Each year we try to nominate a candidate and we have a charity night like this.” 

 

In between the two softball fields, a stage was set for live music as well as raffle tables. Prizes ranged from acoustic guitars, a signed Eli Manning poster and small electronics like an iPod.

 

“Every player [in the league] donated $25 to the Over The Hill Gang charity. That’s figured into their registration,” Reilly said.

 

The charity committee that is associated with the league, heard about young Sal and his battle with Perthes, and decided to hold the annual fundraiser for him. Any funds raised went directly to the family to use it for whatever they need. 

 

Sal was diagnosed with Perthes about 10 months ago. After feeling pain in the area and limping, the nine-year-old boy was diagnosed. Perthes is a disease that afflicts about one in 1,200 children. It happens when the hipbone deteriorates due to lack of blood flow in the hip. 

 

The process to recovery includes taking stem cells from the femur and injecting them into the hip to help rejuvenate the bone. He had major surgery 6 months ago and is currently on a machine for up to 23 hours a day to keep his leg aligned, said Betro, who expected Sal to have to have a hip replacement in 20 years or so. 

 

Sal unfortunately couldn’t see the outpouring of the community as he was down in Baltimore receiving treatment. When he returns he will be on the machine less frequently. 

 

“Where he is, is more important at the moment,” said Betro. “He wanted to get that out of the way before school starts.” 

 

However despite the difficulties at such a young age, Sal was doing remarkably well.  

 

“Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but for a nine-year-old kid it’s amazing. A lot of people, a lot of kids wouldn’t be able to take it,” Betro said. 

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in nearby Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

 

Event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event. 

It’s been more than 50 years since the Farmingdale High School class of 1964 roamed the halls of their beloved high school, but that doesn’t mean that the memories have faded. The class—the first to graduate from Farmingdale High—came together on Saturday, October 18 at the Marriott in Islandia to celebrate all of the good times past and make new memories as a class.  


Sports

3rd Grade Division

The Giants and Jets met for the 2nd time this season, with the Giants again getting the victory over the Jets.  Jalen Gordon scored late into the 1st half for the Giants, which turned out to be the only points in the half.  The Giants shut the Jets down for both halves, keeping the offense off the board.  The Jets strong point this weekend was the defense, with Kyle June and Jake Kuller picking up the weekly William June Foundation awards.  In what is turning into a rough offensive season for the Jets, these awards continue to remind the boys of the perseverance and determination of the award’s namesake and his “never say quit” attitude.

 

—Submitted by Paul Caputo


William Merola, a member of the Farmingdale School District’s wrestling program, was recently selected to attend the third annual U.S. Marine Corps Summer Leadership and

Character Development program, which is limited to 150 sophomores and juniors throughout the nation.

 

Over the summer, from July 20-26, Merola attended the third annual Marine Corps recruiting command summer leadership and character academy at the USMC base in Quantico. 

 

The SLCDA (Summer Leadership and Character Development Program) educates high school leaders about Marine Corps Officer Programs by participating in classroom academics, ethics training, accelerated college prep, physical fitness training, a field exercise, a community service component and a field trip to Washington, D.C.


Calendar

Networking Event - October 29

Halloween Parade - October 31

Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair - November 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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