O&G of Torrington to fulfill girl’s wish to ‘swim with mermaids’

O&G of Torrington to fulfill girl’s wish to ‘swim with mermaids’

BY SLOAN BREWSTER | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
December 12, 2023

Adalynn Sparks, of Bantam poses in front of a payloader with an O&G crew. Sloan Brewster Republican-American

TORRINGTON – O&G Industries and Make-A-Wish are joining forces to help a little girl swim with mermaids.

The Torrington-based company is donating $200,000 to organizations throughout the state, including $70,000 to Make-A-Wish, Kara Oneglia, vice president of the company’s Mason Division said. The donation will cover the cost of making seven wishes come true, including fulfilling 8-year-old Adalynn Sparks’ desire to ride horses on the beach and swim with mermaids, which she will be doing during a family trip to Hawaii in May, her father Tim Sparks said.

Adalynn and her parents attended a check presentation celebration at O&G’s South Main Street repair facility Tuesday. Make-A-Wish Director of Corporate and Community Giving Kim Smith said Adalynn’s was the first wish the O&G funds will grant.

“Today is truly a celebration,” Smith said. “It’s about the partnership with O&G and really doing what you do with the communities that we serve. We can’t do what we do at Make-A-Wish without special friends and supporters like all of you.”

From L-R: David Oneglia, Greg Oneglia, Christina Rossi, Kara Oneglia, Matt Oneglia and Ray Oneglia stand in front of a payloader during a check presentation at O&G. Adalynn Sparks stands on top. Sloan Brewster Republican-American

Adalynn, who lives in Bantam, has cystic fibrosis, which Tim said isn’t discussed very much and tends to be “invisible.” Cystic fibrosis, according to the Mayo Clinic, is an inherited disorder that damages lungs, digestive system and other organs.

With help from an O&G crew, Adalynn climbed atop a payloader and looked down at the cheering crowd, giving a thumbs-up when cued to do so by Smith. She went around to the other side of the huge brand new machine and got a boost to the driver’s seat, then posed, holding the giant $70,000 check, in the bucket in front.

Kara Oneglia places a Hawaiian lei around Adalynn Sparks’s neck. Sloan Brewster Republican-American.

Adalynn said she believes in mermaids because she swam with the mythical sea creatures at a water park in New Hampshire.

Members of the Oneglia clan, the family that owns and operates O&G, said the company spread $200,000 in donations to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown; Connecticut Foodshare in Wallingford; Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Pink Rose Fund in Torrington; and Move United.

The organizations that received money were selected by employees, with the biggest sum going to Make-A-Wish as it garnered the most votes, Kara Oneglia and Christina Oneglia Rossi said.

Three years ago, during the COVID-19 pandemic when the company couldn’t hold a holiday party, it decided to make donations instead, Kara Oneglia said.

Kara Oneglia, vice president of O&G’s Mason Division with Adalynn Sparks, of Bantam, whose wish is to swim with mermaids and ride horses on the beach. O&G donations are paying for the wish to be granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sloan Brewster Republican-American

“We said, ‘why don’t we pick five charities and have the employees vote and we’ll give a certain amount to each one just based on a number of votes’,” Oneglia said.

The company decided to replicate the idea for its 100th anniversary.

 “The employees felt so good about it and were so involved and it was really nice to be able to do that,” Oneglia said. “And so we thought this time around, in honor of the hundredth too, we would do something very similar.”

Kara Oneglia, Christina Rossi, David Oneglia, Greg Oneglia, Ray Oneglia, and Matt Oneglia (behind Adalynn Sparks with the O&G beanie on). Also behind Adalynn are her parents Kathy and Tim Sparks. An O&G crew stands in the back row. Sloan Brewster Republican-American

O&G was founded in 1923 by Andrew Oneglia and Flaviano Gervasini. Initially named Oneglia and Gervasini, in 1975, the business was rebranded O&G. Four generations later, it is run by Andrew’s third and fourth generation descendants.