They wear leather vests that are dotted with insignias, blue jeans and ride motorcycles.
However, as David Levesque, the proprietor of Brewed Awakenings on Atwood Avenue in Johnston, quipped last Wednesday morning: “These men are far from your average bikers club; they’re all good guys with huge hearts!”
“We are so grateful to the steadfast support of the Goodfellas Motorcycle Club whose members care deeply about helping children here during their time of greatest need,” Hasbro Children’s Hospital senior major gifts officer and campaign manager Michele P. Brannigan said.
Led by club president Gene Benedetti, the Goodfellas held their third annual Motorcycle Run check presentation ceremony last Wednesday morning inside Brewed Awakenings. This time, they had two extra-large mock checks that captured the attention of almost everyone inside the coffee shop.
“We are particularly humbled this year to share the club’s donation with the Hart family,” Brannigan said. “The Goodfellas show their dedication to the community in countless ways and the generosity of all involved is so greatly appreciated.”
Brannigan was referring to Goodfellas member Kevin Hart – one of the club’s original founders – and his wife, Christine, who lost their house in a Mother’s Day fire. The motorcycle club decided to make a special donation of $5,500 to help the Harts in their time of need.
The second mock check last week was in the amount of $1,100, which the Goodfellas donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, thus hiking the club’s three-year total to $19,000.
That’s an extraordinary donation considering that the Goodfellas started with just nine men three years ago and today, as member Anthony “Cal” Calabro last week noted the group has about doubled in size to 17.
Back on Feb. 7, 1991, Calabro and his wife lost their son, Anthony Edward Calabro, who passed away from heart problems.
“Hasbro wasn’t built back then,” Cal Calabro said. “So we had to travel back-and-forth to Boston Children’s Hospital. At one of our meetings, the club came up with an idea to start having some fundraiser in memory of my son.”
At Christmas, as Calabro noted, “we find a needy family that has children and we buy a bunch of presents to the kids could have something to open on Christmas morning. We also donate a bunch of food at thanksgiving to the Christian Brothers organization which donates to needy families.”
But Cal’s son wasn’t the only heartbreaking tragedy that prompted the Goodfellas to hold impressive fundraisers.
Nick Demetrapoulos lost his wife Sueann at age 44, and Benedetti lost his son Freddy Benedetti Jr., who was only 11 years old.
Recently, Calabro sustained a scare; he suffered a heart attack that required open heart surgery. Everyone – from Brannigan to Levesque to people who have known the highly-respected one-time softball slugger – is thankful “Cal” that is mending quite nicely and feeling fine, as well as talking about making the Goodfellas’s fourth annual Bike Run in 2020 the club’s biggest and best ever.