By Alyssa Sanchez

Don Pucillo, president of Performance Nutrition, took the “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” restoration project for the Hazlet Youth Athletic League at Steven B. Paterson Memorial Football Field in Hazlet, New Jersey, personally. As a kid he played baseball on a field in desperate need of a facelift, while he saw other kids played on more manicured fields.

Shortly after the ribbon cutting event at the newly renovated Hazlet field in May, Pucillo reflected on the project.

“I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. The baseball fields we had growing up were nothing but rocks and dirt. You had have nerves of steel to be an infielder when we played. When I heard what was going on here in Hazlet, I wanted to help.

“We just wanted to create a safe place for the kids to play,” added Pucillo. “Every kid should have a safe place to play, and I’m proud to say that now Hazlet kids have one.”

After a regrade and reseeding of the field, and two applications of Performance Nutrition’s NutriSmart environmentally friendly eco-fertilizer and granular soil inoculant, the Hazlet field had a grand opening to commemorate the newly renovated field on May 18, 2017. This major upgrade was done in partnership with volunteers from Performance Nutrition, Project EverGreen and Natural Green Lawn Care.

Pucillo was excited to participate in the “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” as a program sponsor because he believes in promoting a corporate culture that extends beyond employees and customers and into the community as well.

With their corporate headquarters in Hazlet, Performance Nutrition, a division of LidoChem, Inc., the company’s leadership saw the field’s restoration project as an opportunity to give back to the local community.

Bennett Jackson, who once played as a child for the Hazlet Hawks and is a free agent in the NFL, was present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He was quoted in a local newspaper as saying:

“I remember playing on that half-dirt, half-grass field over there. This is a huge thing for the community, having a nice grass field like this will be great for the kids and for the town.”

The field was closed for a decade. The renovation began last fall and the field opened in May in time for spring sports. Paterson field now offers the Hazlet neighborhood a safer and greener community space for more than 1,500 children and adults.

The author is with What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in Mt. Vernon, Washington