By Andrew Donnelly ’20
Since the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold across the United States, the country has been in shambles. The economy is crippled, small businesses are suffering, and hospitals are overflowing with sick patients in need of urgent care.
As a result, we have all become aware of the tremendous sacrifice being made by health care professionals as COVID-19 rages across the globe. All over the world, doctors, nurses, and countless others working in the medical field are risking their lives on the frontlines of this pandemic. Most are now confronting longer, far more stressful hours with much less – if any – time to spend with their families.
Further away from these emergency rooms, people everywhere are asking the same question – “How can we help?” – and that is precisely what Chaminade varsity hockey player Brendan O’Sullivan ’20 asked himself and his fellow teammates in early April during the height of the outbreak.
“I wanted to do something for the healthcare workers on the frontline,” explained O’Sullivan. “I knew I could count on the hockey team to help.”
Brendan sent out emails to fellow members of the 2019-2020 championship-winning Flyers asking for donations to his cause. The response from his teammates was remarkable. Almost immediately, his call for help was met with overwhelming generosity and positivity, as families and coaches involved with the team began donating money via Venmo.
The goal of Brendan’s mission was to provide comfort to healthcare workers in an honest, sincere act of gratitude for the sacrifices they are making. The team decided the most effective way of doing this would be by buying comfort food and supplying it to the workers at a local hospital. Conveniently, a friend of Brendan’s had a sister in the healthcare industry, as she was working in the emergency room at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside. The pieces seemed to fall into place perfectly.
With the donations that he received from his teammates, Brendan, with the help of his teammate and assistant captain Dylan Ray ’20, traveled to Black Door Burger, a late-night joint in Long Beach.
“We’re going through weird times, and the team just wanted to help the people working on the frontlines against the virus,” said Ray.
The pair arrived at Black Door on Saturday, April 11, picking up a copious amount of what is arguably the king of all comfort food combos – burgers and french fries. The restaurant was more than willing to help the Flyers in their mission to give back to healthcare providers; they even wrapped each meal in an individual bag to allow for the workers to easily and safely distribute and consume the delicious food.
Once the supplies were secured, the teammates traveled to Oceanside to drop off their donation – 75 meals (each consisting of a cheeseburger and fries) and a full case of water.
The two young men were met with nothing but gratitude from the healthcare workers they encountered during the delivery. One ER nurse even texted her thanks later, noting that the burgers were yet another big hit delivered by the hockey team, as they were all eaten and thoroughly enjoyed by dozens of hungry hospital staffers.
This thoughtful gesture from these young Flyers served as a token of recognition and gratitude towards the hospital workers and reminded them that as hopeless as the current situation may seem, nurses, doctors, and other workers fighting the virus will always have the fervent support of their community.
As disciples of Christ and responsible members of society, we are always called upon to exercise both charity and generosity. During this time of sadness and suffering, it is especially important that we ask what we can do to help those around us. The varsity ice hockey team has perfectly shown how we can do this – by extending a helping hand to those on whom this virus continues to have a particularly negative impact.