Hope Week Day 4: Wish of a Lifetime & Sal Reale

Earlier today, on the fourth day of HOPE Week 2018, the Yankees honored the organization Wish of a Lifetime and 87-year-old former FDNY firefighter Sal Reale. Yankees players Greg Bird, Chad Green, Adam Warren, Tyler Austin, Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder surprised Sal and his family by participating in a visit to Sal’s old firehouse, Ladder 136 in Elmhurst, Queens. Sal also threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to tonight’s Yankees-Rays game at Yankee Stadium and joined Manager Aaron Boone in exchanging the lineup card at home plate prior to the game.


Denver-based national organization “Wish of a Lifetime” (www.wishofalifetime.org) provides the funding, support and logistics for seniors in their twilight years to fulfill the meaningful aspirations at the top of their bucket lists. Wish of a Lifetime connects seniors to people, purpose and passions to eliminate feelings of isolation and help them live vibrant, purposeful lives. The organization’s mission is to shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire those of all ages. Realized wishes make other goals seem possible and encourages recipients to keep dreaming and pursuing their passions.


Born and raised in the Bronx in the 1930s and 40s, Sal Reale can still remember the weekends when his dad was off from work and the pair would venture together to Yankee Stadium to see Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. As a young man, Sal served two years in the U.S. Army as a radio operator in Germany during the Korean War before returning home to focus his efforts on protecting the safety and security of his fellow New Yorkers. He became a transit officer for a few years, then switched uniforms to become a firefighter, serving a number of firehouses throughout the city for more than 20 years. Aside from risking his life to save others through his various vocations, Sal, along with his wife, raised two sons and were very involved in the lives of their children. He and his wife made the family decision to move to the St. Petersburg, Florida, area at the end of his FDNY service in 1977, but he still misses New York and its people immensely. The Yankees and Wish of a Lifetime are helping Sal realize his dream of visiting his old Queens firehouse to reminisce about the old days and swap stories with the firefighters who currently serve there.

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