Social distancing decals a creation of former Vernon Hills athlete
It isn't in Drew Catanzaro's nature to stand still.
He wasn't recruited to play Division I athletics, but he stayed involved with sports after high school by playing on the practice squad for the University of Dayton women's basketball team.
"We scrimmaged against the girls," said Catanzaro, who played football and basketball for Vernon Hills, graduating in 2007. "They were on the cusp of the Top 25 for the four years that I was there."
Nearly 10 years later, Catanzaro is still running around, minus his high-tops, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A resident of Columbus, Ohio, where he sells production printers for Xerox, Catanzaro has been working the last week on a charitable initiative to enable consumers to buy, donate and ship social-distancing floor decals directly to their favorite local essential businesses. Thanks to what Catanzaro called "the power of collaboration" and "some amazing partners," including Dan Fronk and Sean Olis, the group launched a website and social media campaign this week.
"Be Smart, Stand Apart" is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit collective, supported by "Buy a Pack, Give a Pack" messaging challenge, to encourage community support.
"There are a lot of companies out there that are trying to make these social distancing floor decals and sell them online for profit," Catanzaro said. "We are the first that I've seen that's a nonprofit. Our profits and donations that we receive are going to get funneled back to the American Hospital Association and their 100 Million Mask Challenge that they're doing right now."
The 100 Million Mask Challenge provides caregivers with personal protective equipment. Catanzaro's wife, Julie, is a nurse who works in an operating room.
"So, personally, I'm motivated to get something done," Catanzaro said. "Overall, what got me into it was just the opportunity to do good while people are at home.
"Sitting at home doing nothing was not an option for me. It's given me an opportunity to drive my efforts and my energy."
The nonslip floor decals are 12 by 18 inches. Catanzaro's mother, Kathy, signed up Tuesday and shipped a 10-pack of floor decals to her favorite grocery store, Sunset Foods in Libertyville.
"We have also built in a small profit that will be donated to local charities," Catanzaro said. "As we scale this project, we look forward to scaling the donations as well. This project can be as big as we make it, and we welcome those who want to support our efforts as we support our community."
To participate, visit www.BeSmartStandApart.com.