Over the weekend , I posted the Point Blank Power 25 – a list of the most influential people in Islanders Country. It got lost a bit after the curious leaking of Satan news. More important than all that, this post is about my favorite former colleague…CB
Phil Forgash, the vocational coordinator of the Rosemary Kennedy BOCES School, figured it couldn’t hurt to make the call. Worst-case, the Islanders would say no.
The BOCES program prepares handicapped children in Nassau County for life after high school. The school’s directors do everything in their power to find jobs for their students, which is why Forgash called the Islanders.
“When our students are approaching graduation,” he told me and a close colleague in that phone call 14 years ago, “we ask them: ‘if you had your choice, where would you like to work’? Some of them say McDonald’s or Blockbuster or in a nice office somewhere. Applebee’s is a popular one. Last week one of our students gave us quite a challenge. He said he wanted to work for the New York Islanders. He asked, so I’m keeping my pledge to all of our students by placing this call.”
Todd Aronovitch, Rosemary Kennedy BOCES School Class of 1995, has been an employee of the Islanders ever since. For at least one day a week, Todd comes to the office and takes care of business. If you have ever received mail from the Islanders, chances are Todd helped make it happen.
Affected by mental retardation and cerebral palsy, the Winnipeg-born Todd is old enough to remember when Dale Hawerchuk and the Jets were a big part of the NHL. When he was 12 his family – mom, dad, older brother and older sister – moved to Long Island so Todd could receive better services. Since hockey was such a big part of his life, and since Todd is not shy about anything, he requested the career placement at the Islanders.
When we worked together all those years, sometimes I would affectionately call Todd “I.P.” for reasons he never knew and was too polite to ask. I.P. stood for Instant Perspective. With Todd around – smiling, laughing, working hard despite the obstacles – really, who were any of us to ever complain?
From time to time, Todd’s grace would extend beyond the office to the rink. There was the day in the late ’90s when the Islanders were going through another endless losing streak. Delivering the newspaper clips to the coaching staff one morning, Todd told them, “Our team needs to wake up and smell the coffee.”
Two hours later, the team meeting in the Islanders locker room was kicked off with Todd telling the boys to wake up and smell the coffee. Overwhelmed by the perspective and charged up to win one for Todd, the next day the Islanders practically flew on to the Coliseum ice and…okay, they only tied Hartford. It was a start. They won the game after that.
Todd Aronovitch may not make miracles, but to everyone he’s ever met, he is one.
Comments. Details on the Lighthouse march and rally below. Working on one more post today.