Thursday, July 6, 2000
will get opportunity
of a lifetime
Thanks to a caring motherBy Dave Reardon
and a Canadian airlines, they
will get plane tickets to see
son Brian box in Olympics
If you doubt Brian Viloria's universal, cross-demographic appeal, check out how his family is getting to Australia to see him compete in the Olympics in September:
Three Maui children convinced their non-boxing-fan mother to talk her Canadian boss into sponsoring air fare for the American flyweight's parents and siblings, who live on Oahu.
After watching a television report requesting donations to help the Vilorias, Jessica, Sharde and Chelsea Gonsalves, ages 8-11, pleaded with their mom, Roni, to pitch in.
"They all kind of looked back at me and said, 'Why can't you help them? You've got those big airplanes.'"
Roni Gonsalves is the Hawaii station manager for Canada 3000 Airlines Limited.
Gonsalves called her regional manager, Robert Strang, in Vancouver, British Columbia. He agreed to provide transportation to and from Sydney for Viloria's father Ben, mother Rosemary, and siblings Gaylord and Roxanne.
"We're happy we're in a position to assist this family," Gonsalves said. "I haven't spoken to them or met them yet, but I feel it's an honor they're accepting. We have a big family (six children), so I understand how they've made many sacrifices along the way. We're glad we can help make Brian be the very best he can be."
Gonsalves will present the tickets, valued at around $4,000, to the Vilorias on Saturday at a fund-raiser at Paki Hale. (Tickets are $10 for the benefit event that begins at 10:30 a.m.)
The Gonsalves family had planned to be on Oahu, anyway. Two-year-old Harley is in the Meadow Gold Healthy Baby Contest.
"My husband Marc is a boxing fan," Gonsalves said. "The entire family is excited to meet Brian."
Viloria said the feeling is mutual.
"I'm so happy for everyone," he said. "It took so much pressure off us. We're very excited and thankful."
Other donations can now be used for hotel accommodations and tickets to the boxing matches. Viloria said tickets for the first-round matches are $50 each, and $350-500 for the finals. Family members of athletes do not get passes or discounts.
"I've had a lot of time to relax and hang out with my family and friends," said Viloria, who leaves Monday for the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. "The serious training is going to start soon. There's a lot more coming up."
Viloria will also appear Sunday at 8 a.m. at Waipahu District Park. For more information on helping with the Viloria family's expenses, call Della Young-Martin of USA Boxing's Hawaii Association at 922-3777.