PTI Meets ALS Challenge

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PTI Meets ALS Challenge

PTI students, faculty and staff met the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Head On this week as over 200 participated in the chilling event to raise money for ALS research. The event was organized by Mark Bellemare, PTI team leader. It began with a challenge by Bellemare on Monday to three PTI executives to follow his lead, contribute to ALS and douse themselves with ice water. The moment was captured on video and went viral.

Each day at High Noon, crowds gathered at the PTI Pavilion to watch an increasing number of brave participants get drenched and challenge their friends and colleagues to do the same. The grand finale included over 100 participants who formed a wave as water cascaded from 100 buckets.

The event was part of a huge national effort to raise money and draw attention for ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Thousands of celebrities tried to outdo each other with challenges raising over $50 million for ALS research as of this writing.

No one could outdo Rob Rossell and Mike Foley from PTI’s School of Trades Technology who showed the Right Stuff as they were buried in ice water from a fork lift carrying a dumpster of water and ice.

Many had personal reasons for participating in the event. Vince Gratteri, Associate Director of the CDS team said:

“I accepted the ALS challenge in honor of one of my best friends and best man in my wedding, Larry Engle who has been battling ALS for a number of years.  He is fighting this disease with the love and support of family, friends, and many others. He will be the one to beat this and others will learn from him on how to overcome tough challenges that life has in store.  Stay strong Larry and keep up the fight.”

To bring the event close to home Terri Barger of PTI shared her encouragement to PTI participants as well as her story and video about her husband who battled ALS for many years.

Terri told PTI “I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for PTI's contribution to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The Barger Family has been directly affected by this disease, and so have other PTI employees.” Teri continued, “I wanted to share our family story via the link below, to give you all an idea of how ALS families handle the life of living with ALS. This video was aired during the 2007 MDA Labor Day Telethon.  Within 2 months of its airing, Bob became totally paralyzed, (except for the use of his right index finger), developed pneumonia, and was then dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Our goal was to have Bob at home through it all.  My part time employment with PTI allowed me to reach that goal. In May 2008, Bob lost his battle with ALS.

 Your contribution to the ALS Organization WILL make a difference!

 View the Barger Family Video

 “This was a great event” said PTI President Greg DeFeo. “It really pulled the PTI family together.” President DeFeo was one of the first to take the challenge and start the event rolling. To see Greg and the other hundreds of PTI participants, watch the videos and see the event unfold.

Add this to your Bucket List - Read Article


Check out all the Ice Bucket Challenge videos
Bobby ALS-MDA Telethon


Offering career-focused education since 1946, Pittsburgh Technical Institute is a two-year college with a 180-acre campus in North Fayette, west of Pittsburgh. PTI offers degree and certificate programs in areas such as Building Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, Design, Healthcare, Nursing, and Information Technology.

PTI students can take advantage of online course offerings, on-campus residence halls, student activities, intramural programs and community service programs. PTI is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

PTI was recognized by its employees as one of the region´s Top Places to Work in a 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 study commissioned by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

For more information, call 1-800-784-9675, or visit

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