By Jack Viscuso ’21
Over the past several weeks, various media providers such as nightly news updates, social media posts, and radio talk shows have told countless inspiring stories of the honorable sacrifices being made by nurses and doctors on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s impossible to ignore all the work being done by healthcare workers to fight COVID-19,” observed Stephen Puntillo ’08. “I knew there was an opportunity to help give them one less thing to worry about, so I asked myself, ‘What’s something I could do?’”
After his graduation from Chaminade, Stephen attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting, as well as an M.B.A. in finance. New York drew him back, however, as he began his career among many fellow Flyers at Ernst & Young. Along the way, he always remained connected to the Chaminade Family and is proud to see the classic elements of a Flyers foundation still present amid modern innovations.
“I can tell there has been a lot of change on campus in terms of the academics and new buildings, but the core values – especially service and charity towards others – have always remained the same,” Stephen said.
It was this commitment to helping out in times of struggle that led Stephen to reach out to Mrs. Deborah Kendric, Chaminade’s Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, in hopes of kickstarting a fundraising effort on behalf of the entire Alumni Service Association. She answered his call by posting about the effort to Chaminade’s social media accounts. Within days, over 70 contributors had raised over $3,000 for meal donations, vastly exceeding Stephen’s expectations.
In mid-April, Stephen and his cousins, current sophomores Jack and Charlie Schmatz, traveled to Basil & Prime, a gourmet Italian market in Albertson that has catered several Chaminade events. Their homemade prepared foods were the perfect offering to the healthcare workers at NYU Winthrop Hospital, where platters of assorted sandwiches, salads, and desserts were delivered straight from Stephen’s car.
A former classmate and friend of his, Andre Oliveira ’08, owns a coffee shop across the street from the Mineola hospital and was happy to contribute several boxes of coffee to the effort, as well.
“The look on their faces told us everything as we unloaded food for the nurses,” described Jack, who handed off the meals along with his brother and cousin. “They were super grateful for what [Stephen] did, and it made us happy to see them happy.”
Quarantine orders have limited the ability of both alumni and students to get out in their communities and lend a helping hand. In spite of these difficulties, Stephen, Jack, and Charlie demonstrated their commitment to ensuring medical staff weren’t fighting this virus alone; their community had their backs, too.
Mrs. Kendric commended the Chaminade Family for their continued dedication to service efforts like the one led by Stephen: “I always say that in times of trouble, people’s true colors show,” she reflected. “It is safe to say that the Crimson and Gold colors are shining brightly during these trying times.”