Pulling Together: Team Universal & Special Olympics
Giving back is its own reward. Over the years, this has become a core ethos at Universal. High achievement, great accolades, being the best at anything, means very little if that excellence isn’t met with equal parts humility, caring and giving.
Being a blue collar Jersey company built upon a foundation of old school values, it is integral to being a part of the Universal family to do your part… Not only to enrich lives, to improve your community, but to set a standard through exemplary action, encouraging those around you to step up and do the same. Through programs like Animal Outreach and our various endeavors supporting our military, we don’t only talk it, we live it.
When Vinny Galanti, IFBB pro, New Jersey bodybuilding legend and member of the Universal family for more than a decade, brought the cause to the fore, suggesting we throw our collective hat in the ring, to perform an insane feat of strength in support of an amazing organization—we were to pull a passenger airplane with a charitable donation made for our effort, to the Special Olympics, we just needed to know where to sign.
The Special Olympics is a cause of particular importance to the Universal family. For a brand built on the principles of camaraderie, diversity and mutual support, there is something of a perfect fit with the intent of the Special Olympics. To champion and publically recognize the bravery of athletes who constantly overcome obstacles and stereotypes in the pursuit of their dreams, it would seem to us, that there could be no higher calling.
On Saturday, October 1st, 2011, with the financial support of Universal corporate and the donations of dozens of ardent supporters, a group of twenty iron warriors--comprised of Universal mentors, athletes, staff and forum fans came together on a rainy and overcast morning at Newark International Airport to do the seemingly unthinkable--move a Boeing 737 twelve feet, as quickly as possible.
Led by Captain Vinny Galanti and his fellow Universal mentors, Greg Long, Henry Skiba, John “Schak” Hnatyschak and Anthony “Big Ant” DeAngelis, Team Universal pulled the 93,000 lb United 737 in 6.5 seconds, landing the crew from New Brunswick in seventh place out of 39 teams in their commercial aviation-pulling debut.
Even more importantly, Team Universal, backed by a generous donation by Universal corporate, managed to raise $2370 to support the noble spirit of competition, inclusion and equality so ardently championed by the Special Olympics. Fierce competitors to their core, Team Universal, who traveled to EWR that early weekend morning with only victory in mind, found triumph in their seventh place finish, knowing that they did the right thing for a very worthy cause.
Vowing to be back with a faster time and a larger sum raised in 2012, Team Universal thanks everyone who backed them in this charitable endeavor and encourages all who have the chance to do their part to take the time and effort to give back… One small donation, one good deed, one massive aircraft pulled at a time.
To see the plane pull, please visit our Universal Youtube page at: http://www.youtube.com/UniversalUSA77