Coughlin's help Make-A-Wish dream come true DELAWARE, Ohio (Aug. 28) - Continuing a long-standing tradition of giving back to the community at large, the Jeg's Mail Order race team recently opened its hearts to a young visitor from the ...
Coughlin's help Make-A-Wish dream come true
DELAWARE, Ohio (Aug. 28) - Continuing a long-standing tradition of giving back to the community at large, the Jeg's Mail Order race team recently opened its hearts to a young visitor from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Michael Aloia, an 18-year-old from New York who has lymphoma, a form of cancer, was given a chance to have a wish granted by his local Make-A-Wish chapter. A longtime fan of NHRA drag racing and the Coughlin family, as well as the proud owner of a 1989 Ford Mustang, Aloia immediately responded that his wish would be to have a shopping spree at the Jeg's Mail Order facility in Delaware, Ohio.
A few phone calls were made and Michael, his mother Sarah, and sister Jean were soon on their way to Ohio for the visit of a lifetime. A stretch limousine met the Aloia's at the airport and whisked them to Jeg's sprawling facility where they were greeted at the front door by three-time POWERade champion Jeg Coughlin.
"You'd think a kid would say they wanted to go to Disneyland or go to the White House and meet President Bush," explained Jeg. "Not Michael. This guy was a gearhead with an '89 Mustang he was rebuilding and he had an agenda. It was so cool he picked us to come and visit. It was certainly an honor for us to host Mike and his mom and sister."
Coughlin showed his special visitors throughout the entire compound with stops from the distribution center to the corporate offices and every department in between. He took the time to explain in detail the process of delivering high-quality high-performance automotive products to customers around the world in a timely fashion.
The tour only picked up pace from there. Coughlin took Michael to the race team's research and development area where an excited Michael slipped behind the wheel of one of the Team Jeg's Chevrolet Cavaliers that has raced at numerous NHRA national events. As Michael sat in the cockpit, Coughlin took him through the entire process of completing a burnout, staging for a race, and making a full quarter-mile pass in a 6.7-second, 205-mph hot rod.
The Aloia's then had a chance to check-out the entire race shop and engine development areas before ending their first day of activities in the vaunted champions room where the 124 trophies earned by the five racing Coughlins reside. Jeg then made Michael an honorary lifetime crew member with his very own autographed and signed Team Jeg's uniform shirt.
"I hope he enjoyed his visit as much as we enjoyed having him," Jeg said. "I don't think they expected me to show them around but it was my pleasure to do so. This was one of those special moments in your life you always remember. My wish is that Mike feels the same way. We all take so many things for granted and sometimes it doesn't sink in how good you have it until you see a young fellow like Mike who is in a big and very important fight. It puts everything else in perspective."
Although it hardly seemed possible, Day 2 began with even better news as Michael was told that the original amount of merchandise he could get that would be covered by the Make-A-Wish Foundation had been matched by the Jeg's Corporation, doubling his high-performance shopping spree on the spot. The Aloia family was then taken to the original Jeg's location on 751 E. 11th Avenue, met by Troy and Mike Coughlin, and Michael was turned loose to pick and choose whatever he wanted as Troy, Mike, and the attentive staff helped him sort through Jeg's massive warehouse.
With a smile on his face and two full pages of receipts for the merchandise he'd selected, Michael left town knowing most of the items he picked would probably beat him back to New York. His Wish had been granted in spades.