When Carson Last ’18 was forced to return home from Tulane University this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he found himself with time on his hands and an undeniable ambition to help his community. Knowing that the synergy of a team is better than working alone, he enlisted fellow Class of 2018 Avonians Dane Bartkiewicz, Dylan Nastri, Max Ravech, Dylan Schaetzel, and Brady Williamson. The Brotherhood remains strong and tight-knit well after graduation; so these young men jumped at the opportunity to create a viable organization to help doctors and nurses fighting the virus daily.
The six Avon Old Farms alumni took a cue from the successes of other college students around the nation to create Fuel Our Heroes Hartford. The mission of the fund is “to help the medical professionals sacrificing everything for our public health by providing them food, fuel, and PPE to allow them to fight the battle against COVID-19.”
Carson began by partnering with Hartford Hospital’s philanthropy department and worked to create connections for collecting tax deductible donations and a structured funnel for the provisions purchased from gifts to the fund. It was important to the team of local Avonians —all from different colleges around the country, but all back home near Hartford—that their local community received tangible necessities because of their fundraising efforts. The money raised by Fuel Our Heroes is put towards resources for frontline medical workers such as scrubs, safe lodging, and food for comfort rooms for staff required to work long hours.
The team built a website to raise funds and then got busy spreading awareness. They turned to Instagram and other social media platforms to ask for gifts in their circles of influence and generate leads for other donors.
In 13 different cities, the Fuel Our Heroes initiative has raised over $200,000. The Avonian-led Hartford chapter has contributed over $2,000 towards the purchase of equipment for medical professionals.
Carson encourages more Avonians to join him and his five classmates in this venture to fuel our heroes: “One of the most important things we learned was that being a good ‘brother’ is that the Brotherhood expands outside of the physical school grounds.” Visit www.fuelourheroes.org/hartford to learn more about how Men of Avon are helping and how you can join their efforts!