O&G joins Make-A-Wish Foundation with gifts for children

O&G joins Make-A-Wish Foundation with gifts for children

Emily M. OlsonStaff Writer
Dec. 13, 2023

TORRINGTON — Addalyn Sparks is going to Hawaii in May with her parents, a trip provided by O&G Industries and the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Connecticut chapter. 

O&G, headquartered in Torrington, and its employees participate in the Make-A-Wish donor program. This year they donated $70,000 to the foundation to fulfill the wishes of seven children. The cost of a wish is about $10,000.

On Dec. 12, Addalyn and her mom and dad, Tim and Katherine Sparks, drove from their home in Bantam to the O&G repair center on South Main Street to meet the Make-A-Wish team and the many O&G employees who made her wish possible. 

O&G, through Make-A-Wish Foundation’s donor program, gave $70,000 to fulfill the wishes of seven children this year. The first recipient, Addalyn Sparks, 8, of Bantam, was presented on Dec. 12 with a trip to Hawaii by Make-A-Wish team members and O&G Industries at their repair center in Torrington. O&G employees cheered for her during the presentation.

Addalyn has cystic fibrosis, a disorder that damages the lungs, digestive tract and other organs. It’s an inherited disease. Children with critical illnesses like hers are the focus of the Make-A-Wish organization’s mission, which is to grant a child’s dream.

The wish might be from a 3-year-old heart patient who wants to be a firefighter, or a 10-year-old leukemia patient who wants to go to Disney World. For Addalyn, going to Hawaii, where she can “meet mermaids and go horseback riding on the beach” and attend a Hawaiian luau, is her wish.  

When the Sparks family arrived at O&G Dec. 12, they were greeted by the owners, the Oneglia family, and a crew of employees, who cheered for Addalyn. She received a basket of gifts and a lei made from purple carnations, in anticipation of her trip. She also got to climb aboard one of the company’s excavator machines, with help, and stood inside the machine’s cab and massive bucket for a photo with an oversized check. 

“Thank you for making my wish come true,” Addalyn said shyly, standing with Kim Fields, director of corporate & community civing, and Kai Gazlin, both from Make-A-Wish Connecticut.

“We have given between 20 and 25 trips to Hawaii,” Gazlin said. “Last year, we granted 232 wishes.”

“Because of the backlog of wishes created by the pandemic, there are 350 Connecticut children with critical illnesses waiting for their wish to be granted — waiting for hope,” Fields said. “This is the largest list of waiting kids they have ever seen. As quickly as they are granting wishes, they are receiving referrals for new wish requests daily. O&G has jumped in to support Wish kids when they need it most. Wishes can’t wait and O&G Industries is here to support.”

According to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s website, children and families are positively impacted by these wishes. In some cases, doctors say wishes help relieve a family from traumatic stress, and recipients say receiving their wish was a turning point in their treatment for their illness. 

“Research shows that wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can give a child better health outcomes and increase their chances for survival,” according to the foundation. 

The O&G family said the company’s 100th anniversary and success, being celebrated this year, is driven by relationships with their community. 

“As we reflect on our first 100 years, it is not lost on the Oneglia family and corporate officers that O&G’s success is primarily driven by the community relationships the company has built,” said Kara Oneglia, vice president. “We are committed to embodying responsible corporate citizenship. Our legacy is marked by substantial investments in organizations that bring about positive change in our communities. It is truly a privilege for us to contribute to Make-A-Wish and support their meaningful work.”

To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit wish.org