Voting ends August 15, 2015!
Above All Masonry is excited to introduce the two finalists for this year’s Welcome Home Project! Both families are incredibly inspiring, and we will be honored to provide the final recipient with a landscape design makeover. Meet the two finalists below, and then cast your vote for the recipient of a new backyard courtesy of Above All Masonry and our local partners.
Sports coach Mark Pirollo has dedicated himself to serving Suffolk County youth for over 25 years, volunteering his time and energy to help provide mentorship and guidance to the younger members of his community. This is an admirable trait in anyone, but made all the more remarkable because Mark faces considerable physical challenges due to a progressive, degenerative disease.
Despite experiencing severe atrophy in his arms and lower legs that make even walking painful and difficult, Mark has continued to spend time on the sports fields with the kids he coaches on his teams. As his nominating sponsor (his fiance Catherine) describes, “…he stays on the fields and is there for the kids no matter how bad a day he is having, season after season, year after year.”
His physical disability also makes it difficult for Mark to complete projects around the house, including replacing or tearing down the 40-year-old deck in his backyard that is currently in extreme disrepair.
As Catherine wrote to us, “This would mean the world to him, as he has often spoken of his wish to be able to have team parties and barbecues in the yard, but is unwilling to risk having the deck hold that much weight…Not only would we be able to have team barbecues and parties in the backyard, but can also utilize it for family activities on a regular basis. Mark would enjoy having company in the backyard, but will not risk anybody’s safety by doing this with the condition that the deck is currently in.”
Rich & Anne Cornell
Massapequa resident Rich Cornell is a retired NYPD officer who worked at Ground Zero, and now continues serving his community at the 9/11 Memorial. His wife Anne is a special education teacher who works with autistic children.
The Cornells’ home was hit hard by Hurricane Irene, and then by Hurricane Sandy. They lost furniture, electrical work, walls, floors, and their boiler indoors, as well as all of Anne’s beloved outdoor landscaping, including a camellia bush planted in memory of her mother.
After spending a significant amount of their savings on restoring the home and its landscaping, the Cornells were instructed by FEMA to remove all landscaping and complete considerable construction due to the property’s placement on a slab. Their hard work on restoration had to be removed all over again.
Rich and Anne’s daughter Chris nominated them for the Welcome Home project, writing, “My parents work hard to help others in their work, and always make sure we are doing sports and things we like. The hurricanes have cost them so much money, and I know that with me in college and my brother going soon they can’t save.
I know that there is no extra money for things like a new lawn and flowers, and my mom always loved to plant and take care of the garden and make the house look nice…this would help my family get back to normal.”
About the Welcome Home Project
The Welcome Home project is an annual service program that gives back to a worthy member of the Long Island community. As a family-owned Long Island landscape design company, Above All Masonry partners with other local businesses to provide, completely free of charge, a landscape makeover to a family in need.
In 2014, combat veteran Jacob Wolf and his fiancee Leah were the initial Welcome Home project recipients, and received a new backyard for their Atlantic Beach, NY home. This year, Above All Masonry has asked the community to nominate finalists and vote on the winning recipient.
As co-owner Lisbeth Bono explained at the project’s launch last September, “Often, it’s the people that deserve these improvements the most that can’t afford them. We’ve been creating these beautiful outdoor spaces for so many of our clients for years now and it was time for us to start giving back to these people in our community—the people that give so much—the veterans, the firefighters, the social workers, the police officers, the community volunteers.”
How to Vote
We thank all the members of our Long Island community for writing in with Welcome Home nominations, and now ask for your help in selecting the final recipient. Please vote online here for Mark Pirollo or Rich and Anne Cornell (only one vote per person, please).
Voting Deadline: August 15, 2015