A Brightwaters veteran and his family have just received a partial home makeover through a behind-the-scenes organization called Make It Count.
“The [members of Make It Count] have every reason to spend their time living lavish…instead they spend their downtime doing what they did for us and giving away their money and time to see veterans live out the American Dream we risked our lives for overseas,” said recipient of the makeover, Lorenzo Bono, a U.S. Marine who served from 2012-16.
The mission of the organization is to provide housing, education, and healthcare to those who have served in the military, says Mark Sagliocca of Make it Count.
The organization is run by six board members in total, all of whom have different backgrounds.
“My expertise is as a land developer and general contractor,” said Sagliocca. “While our founder, Jon Reese, is more of a Wall Street finance guy.”
Together the group pools its skills and backgrounds together to give back to those who fought.
The remodeling work at 450 Peters Boulevard all started with a plate of dinner at Primi Italian Steakhouse in West Islip.
Sagliocca was eating dinner with fellow Make It Count members when he overheard the owner of Primi’s, Frank Bono, talking about his veteran twin brother and his brother’s new home.
That brother was Lorenzo.
“Right when I heard he was from Brightwaters my eyes lit up because the Lion’s Club wanted to donate to someone in the Bay Shore area,” said Sagliocca.
That’s when Make It Count sent over an e-mail to Lorenzo that had him scratching his eyes in disbelief.
“When I got the e-mail from Mark talking about renovations, I just couldn’t believe it,” Lorenzo explained. “I yelled out [to his wife], ‘Babe, come here! Am I reading this right?'”
Sagliocca explained his organization’s work is made possible by donations from places like the Lion’s Club, as well as individual donors.
“125% of our donations go towards renovations,” said Sagliocca. “The reason we can do that is because we have virtually no overhead.”
According to Make It Count, most of the workers, from demolitionist to plumbers, who work in the house donate their time and expertise.
Sagliocca and his team completely flipped the Bono family’s bathroom and kitchen on the main floor, installing all new appliances, cabinetry, flooring, and much more.
“They bought this beautiful home and it just needed a shot in the arm,” said Sagliocca.
Lorenzo told GreaterBayShore there were times when he caught himself welling up with tears as the renovations took place.
“It felt like it wasn’t even real,” said Lorenzo’s wife, Samantha.
“To see my wife in the kitchen like this with my [two] kids it made me as a man, father, and as a husband feel beyond amazing,” said Lorenzo.
They never asked for help, but Make it Count sought them out.
“We pushed ourselves on Lorenzo and Samantha because it’s our duty as citizens to give back,” said Sagliocca.
Scroll down for before and after photos.