SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Three women in Lackawanna County are helping a few youth sports teams provide greater safety in memory of their brother.
A memorial foundation in memory of a West Scranton native has inspired his family to provide safety and remove fear from stepping onto the playing field.
Nicky Stelmak played football and baseball at West Scranton High School in the 1980s.
He went on to coach college sports in New Jersey but his life was cut short when he passed away from heart problems in 2015. He was 44.
His sisters created a memorial foundation in his name to help educate youth and donate to charitable causes.
“Always looked out for the underdog. he was the best big brother,” said Maria Svetovich Nick Stelmak’s sister.
Their latest includes donating three defibrillators to the West Scranton Jr. Invaders football team, the West Scranton Little League, and the North Scranton Vikings football team.
“I just believe that no parent should have to bury a child and if they have this hoepfully they can avoid that,” says Diane Bernardi Nick Stelmak’s sister.
The inspiration for the AEDs came after 25-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field in January.
“And when that happened it was a lot of memories flushing back for all of us,” continued Svetovich
Having the safety tool available in case of an emergency brings comfort to the coaching staff and players of this West Scranton team.
especially when an AED can cost between a couple of hundred dollars and a couple thousand.
“It is a very big deal to us. Not only does it help our kids, it helps the teams that we play.they are touching a lot of lives,” explained Tommy Selemba the president of B/team and coach of the West Scranton Junior Invaders
“I think it will keep us safer if it’s next to us on the sideline the whole game,” added Christian Baldoni the tailback/safety on the West Scranton Junior Invaders.
Nyasia Owens, whose son is in his second year of youth football with the West Scranton Invaders D-team, feels less worried if something were to happen thanks to this donation.
“Potentially saving a life through a loved one who these sisters hold near and dear to their hearts is the legacy they want for their brother,” said Ownes.
“In the blink of an eye anything can happen to change your life like what happened to our brother so if we can save someone in Nicky’s memory. We promised him we would never let anyone forget you,” says Liz Amicone sister of Nick Stelmak.
For more information, Nicholas G. Stelmak Memorial Foundation check out their Facebook page.