RICHMOND - When Peggy Michelotti picks up a photo of her late son, Danny, he's usually wearing a hoodie.
Danny, who in 2010 died tragically in an avalanche while snowboarding in Colorado, loved his sweatshirts. So when Michelotti went on a mission trip to help Haitian school children and found out that the students were in desperate need of warm clothing, she discovered the perfect way to help out while honoring Danny's memory.
Two weeks ago Michelotti, a Richmond resident, began collecting donations to purchase 283 hoodies that would be delivered to children in the mountain village of Despinaisse, Haiti on Nov. 30. The sweatshirts – which Michelotti has already purchased – and the hockey bags they will travel in, cost $3,500. Michelotti said she has collected $700 so far, but she's hopeful for more donations.
"I'm faithful that it will take care of itself," she said. "We're hoping the money can continue to roll in."
Danny moved to Colorado in 2009 to work for a ski resort. On March 10, 2010 he and two friends were snowboarding near the Arapahoe Basin ski area in Keystone, CO. when the avalanche occurred, according www.thedenverchannel.com, the Denver ABC affiliate news, the two other snowboarders escaped the slide.
Danny was 20 years old.
"Danny was an amazing person," Michelotti said. "He definitely lived life to the fullest. We want to be able to keep his memory alive."
At the time of Danny's death Michelotti became very involved with volunteering in Haiti. At his funeral, in lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to be made out to the Danny Michelotti Memorial Fund. The money was used by the Catholic Assistance Mission to build homes in Despinaisse, Haiti.
When Michelotti traveled to the village in June 2010 and asked the school's principal what items the children needed, he told her that during the winter months the mountains get very cold and the students often don't have warm enough clothing. A group from CAM will be delivering the hoodies to Despinaisse on Nov. 30.
"On each of the zippers we purchased a guardian angle medal," Michelotti said. "Each child will get that. I like to believe my son is always watching over us."
Those interested in contributing in Hoodies for Haiti can send donations to The Danny Michelotti Memorial Fund c/o Peggy Michelotti, 9718-1C Prairie Ridge Blvd., Richmond, IL 60071.