Giving Spirit Not Squelched in COVID Climate


Rather than selling its old equipment, the local Y made a donation that will benefit many.

Photo by Mary O’KEEFE
Overseeing the donation are, from left, Jon Gold (in red), Glendale Community College Kinesiology Division chair and Lifestyle Fitness Center director, Brandon Wood (in hat), YMCA of the Foothills director of facilities, Vince Iuculano (forward in Hawaiian mask), YMCA of the Foothills chief operating officer and Chris Cicuto, Glendale Community associate dean of Athletics.


The closure of so many businesses due to COVID-19 Safer-at-Home Orders has affected many people. From business owners worried about how they will pay their bills to essential workers making certain they don’t leave home without hand sanitizer and face coverings, historic adjustments have been made.

While some businesses are using this time of fewer people and cars on the road to do maintenance, the YMCA of the Foothills is continuing construction at its facilities that includes bringing in new exercise equipment and getting rid of the old. Keeping in mind the desire by administrators to always look for ways to support the community and, even though they could resell the old equipment, it was decided instead that a contribution would be made to benefit many.

The Verdugo Hills YMCA is doing some remodeling at its facility in Tujunga, taking advantage of the Safer-at-Home ordered shut-down of the facility. Workers were tearing down the walls of an office that was in the facility’s workout/weight room. The removal of the walls opened up the area, enabling Y members to see outside while working out once everyone is allowed to return to the gym. The Y also purchased new exercise equipment and reached out to Glendale Community College to donate their used equipment.

“Chris [Cicuto] and I played baseball at Glendale College,” said Vince Iuculano, YMCA of the Foothills chief operating officer.

Cicuto is GCC associate dean of Athletics. He and Iuculano met when they were on the same team at GCC, and they later coached together. The two have remained friends over the years. Iuculano and his wife recently welcomed a new baby to their family, and Cicuto and his wife will be the baby’s godparents.

“Vince introduced me to my wife,” Cicuto said.

The men’s relationship has continued to strengthen over the years after both married and started families. Iuculano knew there was a need at GCC so it was a natural step to donate the Y’s equipment to the GCC program.

The 47 pieces of workout equipment include elliptical machines, treadmills and stationary bikes. The donated equipment has been well maintained and will be a welcome addition to the college. It will be placed in the fitness center on the campus where the entire student body, not just those in athletic fields, can use it.

In a pay-it-forward move, GCC will be donating its exercise equipment to middle schools in the Glendale Unified School District.

Jon Gold, GCC Kinesiology Division chair and Lifestyle Fitness Center director, said the equipment that they will be donating to GUSD is in very good shape.

“We take care of the equipment,” he said. “The middle schools will be getting some nice equipment.”

Gyms were some of the first businesses to be closed due to COVID-19. Iuculano and Brandon Wood, director of facilities at YMCA of the Foothills, are looking toward the future when the Safer-at-Home Order is relaxed.

“We have to make sure we keep the [equipment spaced] for social distancing,” Wood said.

Expanding the square footage of the workout/weight room at the Verdugo Hills Y has allowed proper space for social distancing of the new equipment.

Since both the Y and the college are undergoing construction at their facilities, the equipment, both the new and the donated, will not be installed until the floors are finished and the construction is completed.

Traditionally the Y sells its old equipment that in this case would have brought in about $20,000, but the benefit of helping GCC was greater than that. Plus, it is what you do for friends.