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Fitness guru lifts spirits at Niagara

Dennis Brochey (on left) representing the Red Brick Powerlifting Club, presents Col. Timothy Vaughan (in center) and Col. James Atkinson on right with a check for $11,000. The proceeds will be used to benefit deployed Airmen and their families.

Dennis Brochey (on left) representing the Red Brick Powerlifting Club, presents Col. Timothy Vaughan (in center) and Col. James Atkinson on right with a check for $11,000. The proceeds will be used to benefit deployed Airmen and their families.

Niagara Falls, NY -- Thirty seven grand, not too shabby, that's the amount that Dennis Brochey and Red Brick Powerlifting Club has donated to the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing throughout the past five years. After reading an Ann Landers article illustrating the needs of deployed troops, Mr. Brochey along with teammates Bob Petrie and Thomas Delormiere decided to do something about it.
All three, avid Niagara Power Lifting Club members established, organized and carried out what would be an annual fundraising event held at the old Red Brick School House in Lewiston, N.Y.
"Events like this take a lot of time and effort," said Dennis Brochey. "I could not do it without the help of my wife Cathy," he added.
Talking to Mr. Brochey it is clear this is a passion for him. To call it a part time job is an understatement, throughout the year Mr. Brochey spends countless hours soliciting sponsors, making preparations and envisions ways to improve on the previous year's event. By improve he means generate more funds to be used by the 107th AW Family Support Group in support of deployed Airmen and their families.
"Thanks to you guy's we are allowed to live free," said Mr. Brochey. "What we're doing is small in comparison," he added. Small, I think not Mr. Brochey.
Starting out five years ago with 23 competitors and raising $3,700, the competition has evolved into what is now considered one of the premier local powerlifting events. Naturally competitive in nature, they strive to exceed the previous year's numbers. This year's big challenge would be the declining economy.
"The competition is the easy part," said Mr. Brochey. "Soliciting sponsors in these economic times is the challenge," he added.
"The economy is hurting two or three organizations have told me it's not in their budget this year," said Mr. Brochey. "Obviously we're looking for help from anywhere this year," he added.
"It's been a tough year," said Thomas Schmidt, solicitation volunteer. A lot of businesses aren't making money, it's tough to ask them to donate when they're not making money," he added.
Failure is not an option, the Red Brick volunteers met the challenge head on, not only meeting but exceeding last year's numbers by 10 percent. This year's event boasted 108 competitors and raised an astounding $11,000.
Many that benefit from the funds raised by the Red Brick Powerlifting Club are unaware of the source, but are certainly appreciative when a care package arrives, giving them a small taste of home or when they receive news of their family being taken care of while they are deployed.
"I recall a story that Carole Adamczyk, former 107th AW Family Support Group Administrator, told me," said Mr. Brochey.
According to Mr. Brochey it went like this; it was Christmas time and the family of a deployed Airman did not have the means for a Christmas dinner let alonegifts for the children. Carole saw to it that the children had gifts to open Christmas morning and the family had a Christmas dinner with all the fixings to enjoy. "I could not bring their dad back home, but I could give them a proper Christmas," said Carole. "This is where your money goes Dennis," she said.
As Mr. Brochey recited the story, the passion of his endeavor shined through.
"This is why I do it, if I can make a difference in the lives of the troops, it's all worthwhile," said Mr. Brochey.
Mr. Brochey and the Red Brick Powerliftng Club do not see themselves as the heroes they are. But you don't need to yield an M-16 or flying a C-130 to be a crucial link in the War on Terrorism, lifting the spirits of the deployed men and women is as equally important.
At present Mr. Brochey is actively working on next year's competition. He is seeking competitors in all categories, sponsors and volunteers. For more information www.niagarapowerliftingclub.com or call Dennis Brochey at (716) 200-3533.