NAUGATUCK — In 2006, Doug Hale saw an advertisement that would not only change his life but have a positive impact on the community.
The ad, which was on the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston, was for the Pan-Mass Challenge. The challenge is a 192-mile bicycle ride fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Hale, 52, decided to sign up and rode for the first time in 2007.
After the first ride, Hale formed a team called Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Gears and began recruiting other people in Naugatuck to ride with him.
“It started with three people, then seven, and it just kept getting bigger. Once somebody does it they want to do it again,” Hale said.
Since then, Hale and his team have helped raise over $500,000 for Dana Farber and the New Haven-based Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Hale, who works as a custodian at Naugatuck High School, is no stranger to lending a helping hand.
In addition to the Pan-Mass Challenge, Hale has been involved in the annual Clash for the Cure basketball game, a student versus staff basketball game organized by the Naugatuck High School DECA chapter to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Hale has also assisted the DECA chapter with the annual Shoebox Christmas, which ensures each child in the Head Start Program receives a Christmas gift.
For his efforts, Hale has been named the recipient of the 2017-18 Raymond K. Foley Award, which is given by the Naugatuck Parent School Council.
“Mr. Hale has been a role model for all, for he has shown Naugatuck’s youth that it is their duty to commit to helping others in need,” a press release said.
The award honors individuals or a group for demonstrating outstanding service and unselfish dedication to the betterment of Naugatuck children.
“I just kind of do what I do because it needs to be done. I don’t do what I do to be recognized,” Hale said.
Hale said he first started volunteering because when he was a child he had asthma that would leave him in the hospital or on oxygen tanks.
“There were some people that went out of their way to help me. What they did for me stuck with me,” Hale said. “It was something that made me say I remember how good that made me feel so it is my turn.”
Hale will be honored May 8 at the Foley Award Dinner. The dinner is at 7 p.m. at the Crystal Room, 98 School St. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children. Tickets are available at the Board of Education office and at all Naugatuck public schools. May 1 is the deadline to purchase tickets. Full tables of 10 can be reserved by contacting Brenda Goodrich at 203-720-5244 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Melissa Teator at email@example.com.