June 13 is going to be a great day for Lou Cimaglia and the group he founded more than seven years ago. Just how great remains to be seen.
Local Heroes, a Wilmington non-profit organization that sends care packages to troops overseas, recently was selected by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation as one of 16 groups to win a Myra Kraft Community MVP award.
On Wednesday, June 13, during a luncheon at Gillette Stadium, Cimaglia will be in attendance to find out what the reward will be for Local Heroes. That day, 10 third place winners will receive $2,500, five second place winners will receive $10,000 and one grand prize will be awarded $25,000.
“Local Heroes has done so much that I’m extremely proud of. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten this kind of recognition. It’s very exciting,” said Cimaglia, whose group has after meeting every Wednesday for seven-plus years. “Any monetary award we receive will go straight to supporting the troops overseas, helping families back home and helping these kids get reintegrated into the civilian world.”
There were thousands of applicants for the award, which is given in memory of the late wife of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. During the luncheon, Robert Kraft is expected to be in attendance.
Cimaglia said receiving any level of the award will mean big things for the group. If Local Heroes takes home $2,500, it would pay for three to four weeks worth of postage. The second or first place awards would of course go even further.
While recently filing taxes for the organization, Cimaglia said he discovered just how much of an impact Local Heroes has had. Since its inception, volunteers and donors have spent $500,000 for the troops.
Cimaglia’s son, a recent Westfield State University graduate also named Lou, was the one responsible for Local Heroes’ nomination. He applied online as a tribute to his dad, expressing to the Patriots just how much his dad’s volunteer efforts mean to him in a letter with the application.
“The fact that my son wrote those things in my name, I figure I’m a winner already anyway,” said the elder Cimaglia. “For that organization to recognize little tiny town Wilmington’s Local Heroes really means a lot. We’ve had thousands of hours of volunteerism from people coming every Wednesday and to the fundraisers. It’s really cool to be recognized for that work.”