Two local area youth athletes supported medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Gugliotta, a resident of Fair Lawn, NJ and Allen Magie, a resident of Haskell, NJ worked together to donate 100 handmade masks to medical workers on the front lines.
Michael is part of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation Young Ambassadors (HLFYA) program whose mission is through its fundraising efforts and community outreach, strives to create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services. Allen is an HLFYA Alumni who completed the program last year and is still actively involved. These young men have been friends since they met several years ago on the ice at a local rink during travel hockey season Michael attends Paramus Catholic High School where he will be a sophomore in September, and Allen will be attending Paramus Catholic High School in September as a freshman. Through their friendship and the experiences of the HLFYA program as well as through their love of hockey, Michael and Allen teamed up to donate to those in need.
The HLFYA program hosted a socially-distanced volunteer opportunity asking members to participate in sewing masks for medical workers serving on the front lines during the pandemic. Michael and Allen asked family members for assistance and together, they were able to donate 100 handmade masks to medical workers.
“I cannot sew at all, but I knew I wanted to help. My Grandma is great at sewing, so I asked her if she would help Michael and I out. It was a team effort. Michael and his Mom ordered the different patterns of the material for us to use to make the masks. My aunt was nice enough to help me cut out the correct square sizes from the material. I also cut all of the elastic. Once that was completed, my Grandma got to work sewing the masks. We ended up with 100 masks, give or take a few,” Allen explained. In addition, Allen had a family friend reach out asking to help as well. “A family friend found out what Michael and I were doing for frontline workers at the hospital and wanted to help us out. She crocheted 75 attachments that cover the elastic on the sides of the masks. Many medical workers were wearing masks that were uncomfortable around their ears, so these attachments make things a bit more comfortable for them,” Allen stated.
While Allen was cutting elastic and fabric, Michael was busy contacting medical workers in the area to see who was in need. Luckily, he was able to connect with Melisa Skific, an RN on the COVID floor at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ. Once the masks were completed, Michael and Allen got together briefly to make signs and take a photo to thank the medical staff at Valley Hospital. Michael then met with Melisa to deliver the masks.
“Helping the nurses and doctors stay safe at Valley Hospital was a really amazing experience. With all of the uncertainty in the world today, knowing that I was able to make a difference for someone was a great feeling. This health crisis hit so many communities incredibly hard, and our first responders jumped in to treat the sick without regard for their own personal safety. Knowing that I was able to make a difference in that regard was something I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to do and to say ‘thank you’ to them for keeping us well and healthy,” Michael expressed.
“This has been a difficult time in our communities. Things were tough on everyone, but our medical workers stepped up and served us on the front lines of this pandemic. To be able to have the opportunity to give back to them for their service was a great feeling. The HLFYA program is something I’m very lucky and proud to be a part of. The opportunities and ideas they provide for young ambassadors to volunteer is amazing. Michael and I were able to work together while social distancing amid the health crisis. I want to especially thank my ‘Mama” Georgianna D’Amico, my aunt Nancy Lavorgna, and my friend Mary Reinhold for all coming together to help Michael and I. We all played a part in this and it is a great feeling of accomplishment when you have the chance to help others along with family and friends,” Allen said.
“I would like to thank Melissa, all of the Valley Hospital staff, and all medical workers on the front lines,” Michael said.
“Let’s continue to remember all of our first responders not only during times of crisis, but always. We thank all of you for serving our communities,” Allen stated.
Michael and Allen look forward to their continued work together for the HLFYA program, and are eager to get back to school and back on the ice!