“I decided to write Trump a letter,” he said. “I told him how exciting this meeting was for him and our loss. I also told him about our scholarship.” To his surprise, he received a letter from Trump and a check for $1,000.
When Gary and Lori Barlettano talk about their son Cpl. Michael Anthony D’Alessandro, 841st Engineering G Battalion, U.S. Army, it is clear that he was the type of man who would help and do anything for everyone. But on July 2, 2012, the lives of Barlettanos changed tragically with the sudden death of D’Alessandro. The couple took the advice of an army chaplain in the aftermath of the tragedy, struggling to cope with their son’s loss. “Instead of flowers, he told us why don’t we create a scholarship for Michael. It was a way to keep his memory alive, “said Gary Barlettano. ” I went to my bank and they helped me set up the fund. Then began the year-long process of raising funds and creating a scholarship. It’s so hard to lose a son; we wanted something good to come out of it.
During the initial process, Gary Barlettano recalled a time when D’Alessandro, as a teenager, went to the movies at Royal Palm Beach and had the opportunity to meet Donald Trump. “I decided to write Trump a letter,” he said. ” I told him how exciting this meeting was for him and our loss. I also told him about our scholarship.” To his surprise, he received a letter from Trump and a check for $1,000.
According to Gary Barlettano, Trump also expressed interest and became personally involved with the scholarship staff. The final decision was made by Trump, who helped set scholarship criteria, together with local lawyer Kara Rockenbach, who also gave $1,000. “Trump wanted the award to go to someone interested in doing business,” he said. “We wanted him to be a student at Wellington [Community] High School. Although Michael graduated from Palm Beach Central, he always felt that Wellington was his home.” Jessica Costana, a graduate senior from Wellington Community High School, was the recipient of the first CPL Michael D’Alessandro Memorial Scholarship Program.
“I think Michael is so happy about this scholarship, “said Lori Barlettano.