Vincent Miritello - Inspiring Good Deeds

MBVMore on Vincent Miritello - Vincent Miritelllo was the youngest of six children born to Joseph & Clara Miritello. Vincent lived his life with Cerebral Palsy, but was not defined by his disability. Although, he could not walk or talk he had the most beautiful personality, loved to laugh and spend time with his family. Throughout, Vincent’s life Ialways felt the responsibility to care for him and knew that I would always take care of him as an adult. My sister Camella was like a mother to Vincent and we all had different roles in his upbringing helping our parents raise him. Vincent attended Pines bridge schools in Yorktown for the disabled and was loved by so many in the community especially his teachers at Pines Bridge and therapists. Vincent was born in 1979 and passed away much too soon in 2000.

One year after Vinny’s passing I started working with Special Olympians at North East Special Recreation. It was such a beautiful experience and deeply rewarding being able to work with the athletes while they trained and heal the pain in my heart. I was able to talk about Vinny and give the love I had for him to someone else equally as special as Vinny in their families eyes The first year after Vinny’s passing I had a hard time looking at his picture without deep pain and speaking of him would give me a lump in my throat and a deep hurt in my heart. You see, it was always in my life’s plan to take care of Vinny when I was older. Deep in my heart I knew that I was not going to let my brother be forgotten and I was going to carry him forward into my life and always have him here with me. I decided to slowly heal the pain and make it proactive in my life. I don’t feel as much as I lost him as I carry him in my heart constantly. I look at the events we have begun and the future good that will come to the world in his honor. It’s like every step of the way or bit of good that happens has been slowly falling into place.

The day I got the flyer in the mail for the walk a thon I remember so clearly in 2005. It was the first year and I decided to form a team and walk at the very first “Special Olympics Miles for Medals Walk”. Every event we have in Vincent’s honor we do because I want to capture the essence of him. He loved food, warm sweatshirts and family! The "Let's Give Thanks Holiday Food/Coat Drive started because I wanted to have an event to honor him for the holidays and help others. What better way to do that than to help people have enough food, warm coat and clothing throughout the winter season. This was healing for me too, because it gave me a way to be even more thankful in life. Knowing that my brother’s passing would lead to a better life or way for someone else. In 2011, I was in a horrible car accident where I was left unable to walk and in a wheelchair myself. I believe this was third biggest changing factor in my life losing Julian (boyfriend passed), losing Vinny and gaining me. I think at that point when I was unable to walk it awoke in me an even deeper need to help and advocate for a community that need a voice.

My Brother Vinny is a blessing to me in his life and the work we will do with his group is my passion. I know we cannot change the world, but we can change as much as possible slowly day by day. You have to stand up and do something and hope that it spreads to others to try to do the same thing. I do not want to exist in life and wonder what I could have did different. I know I am doing by best and I trust in my heart my ability to make the world the best possible world I can live in because I was blessed with so much great from it. Our vision for the future is to continue to help the community and expand our reach! I want people to hear “My Brother Vinny” and know they will have a resource, friend and help without question and with all heart.

~Paula Miritello