Tom DePietro heeded the warning and stopped allowing walk-in customers at his Dunmore pharmacy.
In his profession, however, the job must still get done.
Now more than ever.
To continue providing the high-level of service he prides himself on, and get people the medicines and supplies they need during the coronavirus pandemic, he called upon the community for help.
Dunmore Bucks football players were eager to give their time.
“I couldn’t believe it,” DePietro said. “I texted coach Kevin McHale to see if any of his players wanted to help out and within minutes, I had 20 or more kids texting me back.”
Following the recommendations by the Pennsylvania Pharmacy Association, DePietro’s Pharmacy altered some of its business operations and changed its hours to Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers could opt for delivery of prescriptions or curbside pickup at the store located at 617 3rd Street.
With an increase in orders and a staff working diligently to fill orders, the Bucks came to assist in delivering orders to vehicles.
“Dunmore football teaches us that when someone who gives so much to us reaches out for help, it’s our job, no our duty, to get there and help,” said Billy Donvito, a 2019 graduate of Dunmore who had his freshman year end at Springfield College where he played football. “And it’s a lot of us, guys who were my teammates and guys who were older than me, guys who weren’t football players are helping.
“Dunmore helps Dunmore.”
Also helping are Donvito’s brother, Pat, Keiran Reyes, Zach Cruser, Jerry Sanchez, George Mesko, Kamryn Reyes, Mike Giannetta, Ross Cordaro and Sean Pietruszkiewicz.
“I just feel like it’s an important thing to do,” Keiran Reyes, 16, said. “It makes me feel good that I can help these people out and we can handle it for them. Of course everybody is scared, but everyone has to do their part to keep everyone safe and OK.”
There are two shifts for the players: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The athletes go through a daily pre-shift meeting of guidelines they must follow. Those begin with washing hands and wearing gloves. They must stay 6 feet away from the customers and stand to their sides. Every so often, they must return to wash their hands again and change gloves.
“We take every precaution,” Donvito said. “We wash our hands a lot. We don’t have any interaction with the customers. We are keeping our distances from the customers and the staff. The gloves are a big thing and not touching anything.
“We are doing everything we can.”
The business is serving hundreds of customers a day during the statewide shutdown.
With the players donating their time, it’s helped relieve a weight off DePietro’s shoulders and helped calm a stressful business day.
“I tell them all the time, the staff and I couldn’t do it without them,” said DePietro, who is a 2002 graduate of Dunmore. “This makes me so proud to be from Dunmore. It makes me proud of all my previous teachers and these coaches who have taught these kids to excel not only in the classroom and the football field, but to find a higher calling to help the community. Their parents should be very proud.
“Dunmore has a great, winning tradition. But most of all coach (Jack) Henzes and coach McHale are creating fine young men. It’s remarkable to see.”
Joby Fawcett has covered high school sports — including football, girls and boys volleyball, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys swimming, boys basketball, girls and boys track and field, and girls and boys lacrosse — for 22 years. The High School Sports Blog offers deeper insights plus statistical and historical information for fans and features photos, videos and graphics along with Top 5 polls for tennis and volleyball. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5367; @sportsTT