'Twas quite the lift for young Ben


Add the total of $2,590 to the amount of money George Lazzarreschi, Jr. – a.k.a. The Big Dog – raised to benefit Benjamin McDermott, an 11-year-old boy who battles a form of muscular dystrophy.

That total came about when some 48 powerlifters, many of whom were of national championship caliber, ascended upon the ageless, concrete block building known as the Ocean State Gym that’s located at Morgan Mill Road in Johnston to compete in an event “Lifting for Ben Strong” that was hosted and organized by the highly-acclaimed Dog House Powerlifting Organization.

“The Show was a great success,” reports Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, a Johnston resident who co-chairs the fund-raising part of Elite Power Lifting that Lazzarreschi Jr. recently purchased. “It was so heart-warming to see such a turnout.”

While the field of mostly men and a few women tested their mettle lifting various amounts of weights in the action-packed and exciting national powerlifting event that featured such categories as full power, squat, bench and deadlift, push pull, bench and deadlift or bench only, the emphasis was raising money for McDermott.

“We had lifters – men and women – ages 32 to 60,” Sabitoni-Arakelian, who took home the Overall Masters division and has only been in the sport for a year and a half, explained. “Competition was open in such divisions as Open, Sub-Masters, Masters, Military, High School, Fire and Police.”

For the second time in as many tries, Lazzarreschi, who works as Superintendent of Public Safety for the City of Providence and serves as Vice President of the prestigious Italo-American Club, nearly doubled the amount of money The Dog House Powerlifting Organization raised for its Children’s Charities.

Back in November of 2017, the unique non-profit 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.

“We want to thank all the lifters, sponsors, volunteers and individuals who made the Elite Powerlifting Federation competition a total success,” said Sabitoni-Arakelian. “It seems like everyone purchased the T-shirts in honor of Benjamin, who was ill and couldn’t come to the event but we presented his father Shaun with a first place medal for Benjamin, who in our eyes is truly a strong champion!”


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