To say that there were a number of powerful weight lifts Saturday inside the ageless and jam-packed Ocean State Gym on Morgan Mill Road in Johnston would be an understatement.
A total of 40 herculean men – and some women – participated in the Elite Powerlifting Federation’s New England Regional Qualifying Championships and wound up awarding Will Hudson and Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian with the prestigious titles of Best Lifter for Men and Best Lifter for Women respectively.
However, the intense competition – which was witnessed by a host of power lifting enthusiasts – was only half the story of the highly-important competition which was a qualifying event for the 2020 National Show that will be held in March.
At approximately 4 o’clock, Sloan Lazzareschi – a Johnston resident who serves as Superintendent of Public Safety in Providence – along with Sabitoni-Arakelian held a tear-jerking ceremony during which they announced that “today’s event was a mighty powerful lift; we raised $2,625 for Jason Borelli.”
He is the 15-year-old boy who has overcome countless surgeries, cannot speak and attends the highly-acclaimed Meeting Street School and is in need of service dog that will provide security and companionship for the energetic teenager.
“The Elite Powerlifting Federation and the Dog House Powerlifting Organization for Children’s Charities is proud to announce that Jason Borelli will now be able to have his own service dog,” Lazzareschi, who is also Vice President of the famed Itlo-American Club, told an attentive audience. “This was all made possible today because of the generosity of our great sponsors, all you people who came to support your favorite lifter and even the sale of t-shirts.”
The check presentation, which came via a large mock-board-like sample of the actual check that was made out to Jason Borelli, was the fifth such unique fundraiser that The Dog House Organization for Children’s Charities has held in recent years.
That message was also featured on one of three extraordinary and colorful banners that took up much of the wall space behind the lifters stand, which at one point saw Roland Metivier – age 59 – received encouragement from the five-time World Champion Lazzareschi and turned in a power lift of 525 pounds that was greeted by a loud outburst of cheers.
Sabitoni-Arakelian, who liked her neighbor Lazzareschi is well-known for her many extraordinary charity works, proclaimed Saturday’s New England Regional event as a “super success” because of nearly four dozen lifters, sponsors and the team of individuals who came together to assist in a number of capacities.”
Two people, in particular, who added a touch of big-time class to the event, were Mark D’Orio and Lori Lazzareschi, Sloan’s wife, who kept the vital statistics of each and every lift while D’Orio served as the day’s big-league-like public address announcer.
The event, as Lazzareschi explained, “Was a full power event consisting of the Squat, Bench and Deadlift and was, as noted earlier, the qualifier for the 20200 nationals.
“We want to thank all the sponsors, donors for always supporting the cause of The Dog House Powerlifting Organization for Children’s Charities,” Sabitoni-Arekelian said. “We are hoping to add another youngster in need’s picture on our very unique Wall of Fame Banner."