Inspired by his mother, John LaSpina was just 15 years old when he began volunteering with "Fight for Sight" , a non-profit dedicated to funding eye and vision research.
Now, fifty years later, he's still at it.
“My mom was half blind, and I wanted to do something. That's what's kept me motivated,” said John LaSpina, owner of Maple Family Centers.
LaSpina started doing clerical work, sending out letters to donors for the non-profit's various fundraising events.
Today, he's a board member and uses his day job to fundraise for “Fight for Sight.”
LaSpina owns and operates five bowling alleys.
Each year he organizes and hosts the "Strike for Sight" fundraiser.
Last year’s tournament raised $16,000 for research.
“Our customers are very generous and very gracious. And though we ask them often to kick in a dollar or two, they all tell me they get it. They do it for the right reasons,” said LaSpina.
LaSpina's dedication to the non-profit has reached bowlers from across the five boroughs and Long Island.
His passion allows “Fight for Sight” to grow to new heights.
“If you were going to do a poster-child for the ideal volunteer, that would be John LaSpina. His passion for Fight for Sight is so immense that he gets these other people excited about “Fight for Sight” and you really can't have a better volunteer than that,” said Arthur Makar, the Executive Director of Fight for Sight.
LaSpina doesn't stop there -- he also serves as the national chairman for the "Bowlers to Veterans Link."
Last month, a tournament he helped organize raised $50,000 -- all to go toward recreational and therapeutic programs for veterans.
“I'm having fun with it all I just like what I do. I think it's important to get up in the morning and feel happy with what you do,” said LaSpina.