New York, NY – Here it is, the week of Thanksgiving. This calls for the gathering of families and the need to give thanks and share a meal with loved ones. In recent years, families and friends gathered at big tables with big turkeys, plates and bowls of food, boats of gravy and mounds of stuffing, which are enough to happily fill the bellies of everyone that joined together for the meal.
Unfortunately, the year 2020 has been challenging. Thanksgiving will be very different this year. Gatherings will be smaller because of social distancing ordinances and the empty chairs at the dinner table will be a sad reminder of all that was lost during the Covid months.
As sacred as saying grace, one tradition before the meal is that everyone seated at the table expresses what they are thankful for this year. This will be a challenge for some, but for others they will talk about the Angels that looked out for them and their families during these troubled times because, in fact, there are Angels on Earth — Levittown Angels that is.
The movement began back in 2017, when an elderly man known to those in the neighborhood as Frank was snowed in after a big snowstorm. Frank was unable to shovel himself out. Long Island hero and Levittown, New York resident Joseph Fradella, along with other Angels, were there to help Frank during his time of need. The Angels were there to help Frank with groceries and supplies until Frank, sadly, passed away.
“Once we started this there was no turning back.” said Fradella. “Our goal was to take care of those in need. Not just in Levittown, but also in the surrounding areas.”
There are leaders, however humble, with key members such as Dr. Kimberly O’Connor and Debbi Chase who have helped The Levittown Angels reach their goals of charity and good will.
The Angels have created programs such as the “Adopt A Family” program through their Facebook page. The program is set up where only the Angels know the names of the family. The family would send a list of their needs and the Angels would post the list. Then a helping member would go out to shop for the needs and, of course, the needs would be delivered by an Angel.
Raising more than $12,000 and delivering thousands of pounds of food, standing side by side with families by putting oil in tanks to keep the heat on, school supplies for children, and while accepting the challenge to continue this support during the pandemic and supporting the local schools and the community, The Levittown Angels have chosen to pull their communities together through a means of positivity. No politics. No judgment. Just support. This is what it takes to be an Angel.
As for Joseph Fradella himself, this heroism comes from his family upbringing. Noting his late brother Keith, Fradella’s family tradition of kindness has not gone unbroken.
Important Side Note: Back in the mid-80’s there was a teacher in Woodland Junior High School. The teacher was affectionately known as Mr. Fradella. He was a kind man that spent time with troubled students and in fact, as a result of his kindness, lives were altered, students were inspired and tragedies were avoided. I know this because I was one of those students. I would have never become what I am today had it not been for Angels like Mr. Fradella. So, put simply, stand tall Joe, with all of my heart, I can say that you have done your father and your family name proud. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for being an Angel to us all.
Ben Kimmel is a proud member of IUOE Local 94, as well as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.