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Local company lends a hand to troops overseas

Mechanix Wear donates $500 worth of gloves to USS Reagan

Posted: August 13, 2009 10:00 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Mechanix Wear President Nick Hale wears a pair of the gloves similar to the ones he recently donated to the men and women serving on the USS Reagan.

Far from turbulent waters navigated by the USS Ronald Reagan and the screaming F18 jets aboard it, Valencia-based Mechanix Wear has made the lives of some Navy sailors a little easier.

The company last month donated more than 20 pairs of special vented gloves, worth about $500 total, to the men and women aboard the aircraft carrier stationed in the Middle East.

The gloves, originally produced for pit crews in NASCAR and other motorsports, are designed to withstand heat. The synthetic leather palm protects against cuts and scrapes and resists the searing heat produced by the F18’s engines.

“Any opportunity we get to help kids in the military, we take it,” Mechanix Wear President Nick Hale said.

Hale learned about the need for gloves from Joe Iacuzzo, the father of one of the crew members.

About a month ago, Iacuzzo received a letter from his son, Andy, a technician on the Ronald Reagan. In the message he asked for
Mechanix Wear gloves, a brand he used when he worked for the Shelby car company.

But Iacuzzo had been laid off from his job as a museum coordinator and could not afford to buy the gloves.

“I was hoping someone could help,” Iacuzzo said. “I gladly would’ve bought a whole bunch of gloves for the kids.”

Iacuzzo contacted Hale, who leapt at the opportunity to help out.

“It just really amazed me. He didn’t hesitate at all,” Iacuzzo said. “He just said, ‘What’s his address? We’ll put a package together.’”

The unique product is perforated in the palm for better breathing, a feature that greatly benefits the ship’s sailors.

“(The gloves) increase dexterity, so they can feel what they are working on,” Hale said. “I imagine that the planes come in hot and they have to work on them when they are hot and work on them under extreme conditions.”

“They burn their hands if they don’t have the right gloves,” Iacuzzo said

For the sailors, who work 12-hour shifts seven days a week, the gloves were greatly appreciated.

“It was amazing how getting the gloves raised the morale of those kids,” Iacuzzo said. ”They were ecstatic. The conditions are brutal: hot, humid, over 100 degrees. Everyone was so happy to have these nice, clean, new gloves.”

Iacuzzo forwarded an e-mail on his son’s behalf to Hale, thanking him for the gift.

“It gave me goose bumps when I read it,” Hale said. “It reinforces that we were doing the right thing. I wish I could send more. It feels like the least we can do.”

Mechanix Wear has a history of donations. According to Hale, the company has donated thousands of pairs of gloves to the military, as well as to the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina.

“We know it’s legitimate. We know there’s a need for them and we know they use them,” Hale said.

Iacuzzo hopes that Hale’s generosity will serve as an inspiration to other businesses.

“If nothing else, it will encourage another company to contribute something to help these kids,” Iacuzzo said.



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