PBA joins local business owner in fundraiser for Special Olympics at New Egypt Speedway
By Esther Gonzales
Waving the large green flag, NJ State PBA President Pat Colligan signaled for the race to begin at the New Egypt Speedway on May 21, in honor of Special Olympic athletes.
Leading the way behind the official New Egypt Speedway pace truck, NJSPBA Special Projects Coordinator John Hulse sat behind the wheel of the NJSPBA Special Services vehicle and put the pedal to the metal. Numerous race cars behind Hulse revved their engines and were off, flinging dirt in the air from the muddy track.
Throughout the race, two Special Olympic athletes, Paul Butera and T.C. Rears, waved green flags, too. And in the stands, members of the NJSPBA leadership showing their support included Executive Vice President Pete Andreyev, Second Vice President Luke Sciallo, Third Vice President Mike Freeman, recently retired Raritan Township Local 337 State Delegate Meg Hammond and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
Local 339 member Kayleigh Colligan.
While the crowd in the stands watched the races, John Ellery, a local business owner, offered 50/50 raffle tickets to raise money for Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ).
“It’s an honor to be able to help the Special Olympics community,” Ellery expressed. “People were very impressed and very thankful. There’s a lot of families that are local to me in Middlesex Borough and the Piscataway area that they do a lot of Special Olympics, and the families are very thankful. And it’s nice when you hand over the money and they’re beyond appreciative.”
Ellery, who owns Ellery’s Grill in Middlesex, has been involved in fundraising for SONJ for the past 20 years with Middlesex Borough Local 181 members. After seeing members running through the town in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Ellery loved the mission behind SONJ and decided he wanted to be a part of the cause.
Often, Ellery hosts pasta dinner fundraisers at his restaurant and donates all of the proceeds to SONJ. This year, Ellery had the goal of raising $50,000. After reaching out to the owner at the New Egypt Speedway, where his son races, he decided it would be the perfect place to raise funds.
By the end of the race day, Ellery had far exceeded his goal and donated $55,000 to Local 181 members for the upcoming Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“People don’t realize all the good law enforcement does,” Ellery added. “A small community would be nowhere without the small business, and a small community would be nowhere without the local police department. So, it’s a very good combination, and we work well together for the same common cause.”