As snow began to fall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sunday night, Bethel Park High School football coach Brian DeLallo didn't think twice when he logged onto his computer to share an update with the team.
"Due to expected severe weather, Monday’s weightlifting workout has been cancelled," he wrote in a tweet and email to players. "Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway. Don’t accept any money — that’s our Monday workout."
"I sent the tweet out the day before," DeLallo tells TODAY.com. "I wanted to get ahead of the snow storm and let the parents know I don’t want the kids out on the roads."
Around 40 players did exactly what Coach DeLallo instructed, heading outdoors in frigid temperatures on Martin Luther King Day to help the community.
DeLallo says before he even woke up, players were out in their neighborhoods shoveling.
"I woke up to texts. They said, 'Hey coach we got three driveways in, heading to our fourth now,'" DeLallo says. "It’s not something where our kids groaned; they did it (and) loved it. I’m lucky to coach in a community that is very supportive of our program and has great kids that really want to be part of something like this."
David Shelpman, 16, who shoveled 10 driveways over the past few days, says it’s “honestly just the right thing to do.”
“My step-father and I have been shoveling our older neighbors’ driveways since I was about 8 or 9 years old,” he says. “It feels great to be able to help people who truly need it.”
Aidan Campbell, 17, agrees.
“It’s genuinely a privilege to be able to hang out with your friends and have fun while at the same time making a big difference to someone who would love to shovel their driveway but can’t for whatever reason," Campbell says.
Bethel Park resident Robert Klein was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the gesture.
"I have lived in Bethel Park for more than 40 years now and acts of kindness like this are exactly why I have stayed for as long as I have and why I will never leave," Klein says. "These young men have no idea how much something like this means to me and it makes me so proud to live here."
Bethel Park High School principal Joseph Villani tells TODAY.com he is not surprised by DeLallo's move.
"Coach DeLallo is a great leader who teaches character first, both on and off the field," Villani says. "While recognized for this one tweet, this is how he always is as a coach, teacher and person."
DeLallo says shoveling snow instead of working out is not new for the western Pennsylvania high school.
"This is something that we’ve done for 20 plus years here," DeLallo tells TODAY. "(Former coach) Jeff Metheny started it and I am just carrying on that legacy."
In fact, DeLallo says that high school programs all over western Pennsylvania participate in paying it forward.
"I think that I was just the first guy to tweet it to our players and the power of social media took over," he says. "You can teach a lot of lessons through athletics and this is just one of those opportunities to get out there and do some good in the community and connect with those that support us."
This story was originally published in January 2022.