Anthony Donatelli doesn’t do anything small. When he’s a fan, he’s all in. Case in point—he LOVES the Beatles. He knows the songs, can sing them word for word and plays them on his guitar. Items in his room are marked “Property of John Lennon.”
Truth be told, he also doesn’t mind if you refer to him as “JL” instead of Anthony. It’s easy to motivate him in the morning—just say, “Hey, JL, get moving!”
Anthony, 30, from Mission Viejo, Calif., is also a huge sports buff. He plays rec league baseball, soccer and basketball. Given that it’s Anthony, he doesn’t just show up. He dresses to the nines in his favorite basketball outfit, head to toe, even if it’s just to shoot a few solo hoops.
So you can just imagine how stoked Anthony was to learn he would be getting to see a NASCAR race in March … and how big this is going to be.
Anthony, who has Down syndrome, came to Bethesda a few years ago. His mother knew of Bethesda from living in the Midwest and she felt it could best meet Anthony’s needs and his desire for independence. Since then, he has done well, having worked at Dave & Buster’s and now at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods.
He loves getting—and spending—his paycheck. He just needs a little guidance with healthy eating (you can’t have pizza every single day) plus money management and making good decisions.
People who know Anthony describe him as the life of the party and happy-go-lucky. He’s always helping around the house and volunteering to bring in heavy groceries. He watches the Chicago Cubs and the Power Rangers. He considers himself a bit of a ladies’ man, too.
Looking ahead to the Auto Club 400, Anthony is eager to watch the racers, whom he thinks of as superheroes. If he can get an autograph signed “To JL,” he’ll be in heaven.