Powerlifting event set to raise funds for children

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Few people, if any, can measure up to George Lazzareschi Jr. when it comes to powerlifting and supporting children’s charities.

Lazzareschi, who is also known as “The Big Dog,” has won five World Championships, as many Big Champion rings and multiple state, regional and national crowns as well as having been recognized by Powerlifting USA magazine as one of the countries all-time best lifters.

“George is truly a legend in the sport of powerlifting,” people closely connected with the sport will readily attest. “However, what he did recently extends beyond those bench presses and squats.”

The Johnston resident purchased the Elite Powerlifting Federation from Bill Durant of New Hampshire and immediately organized a Board of Directors that is moving forward in the sport and now incorporates giving back to children in need.

One of what Lazzareschi hopes will be the first of many such lifting and charity events will be held this Saturday, April 14, at his so-called “second home” the ageless Ocean State Gym that’s located at 10 Morgan Mill Road.

Lifters can compete in full power, squat, bench and deadlift, push pull, bench and deadlift or bench only. The event is open to men and women lifters ages 13 to 60 and up and in such divisions as Open, Sub-Masters, Masters, Military, High School, Fire and Police. The rules meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. with competition set to get underway at 9:30.

Lazzareschi, who works as Superintendent of Public Safety for the City of Providence and serves as Vice President of the prestigious Italo-American Club, wants Saturday’s national competition to be the biggest and best he’s ever hosted, because proceeds will again go to his highly-acclaimed charity, The Dog House Powerlifting Organization for Children’s Charities.

The charity portion of the event is co-chaired by another Johnston resident, Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, former Mrs. Rhode Island Italian who has taken up the grueling sport and retired her crowns.

“We’re calling Saturday’s national competition Lifting for Benjamin Strong,” Sabitoni-Arakelian said. “Our child who will benefit from this event is Benjamin McDermott, an 11-year-old boy who has a form of muscular dystrophy.”

If previous powerlifting and chidren’s charity events offer any measuring stick, Saturday’s event could possibly set a record in regards to helping children in need.

Back in November of 2017, the group raised $1,600 for Joshua Jean Louis, who battles a heart condition yet actually participated in a deadlifting division after being trained at The Ocean State Gym.

“Joshua actually got a belt with his special lift,” Sabitoni-Arakelian noted. “Everyone was thrilled; we are able to raise funds through sponsorships and the sale of T-shirts for the child we are assisting.”

There’s yet another side to Team Big Dog, as some people call Lazzerschi’s group of volunteers who are skilled in the sport of powerlifting and that dedicated people like his son Sloan, the Head Judge along with Al Tridenti, Craig DeBartolo, Tony Palma, Mark Colozzi and George’s wife Lori, who maintains and tracks records of all power lifters.

“And hopefully,” as Sabitoni-Arakelian said, “Another record-setting event for The Dog House Powerlifting Children’s Charities.”

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