More Stories of the ND Family Doing Good

Be The Light: Volume 6

Bethelight 1440x810

Members of the Notre Dame family continue to devote their talents, time, and resources to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and support the ill, at-risk, and vulnerable in numerous ways.

Below is the latest in a series of Be The Light stories about alumni doing good during the ongoing fight against this global outbreak. Read Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5 for more stories of the ND family around the world.

Antonio Bonfiglio '89 Grace Mikol '22
Marie Kruse '15 Heidi '09 and Mark Witte '09
Bryan Lazorik '19EMBA  Additional Domers Doing Good 


Antonio Bonfiglio ’89 is the Chief Medical Officer at the Ascension Macomb and Ascension Oakland hospitals in the Detroit area.

What is your connection with Notre Dame?

I graduated from Notre Dame in 1989 with a degree in biology. I lived in Keenen Hall all four years and still keep in touch with my roommates. I have incredibly fond memories of my Keenan brothers and my time in the dorm. I can still remember the pizza we made in the basement (Za-land), intramural sports (football, baseball, lacrosse, bookstore) and of course, The Keenen Revue! I also kept in touch with my rector, Br. Bonnaventure Scully, until his recent passing a couple of years ago.

How is your work impacting the fight against COVID-19?

After graduation, I went to medical school at Indiana University and after graduation finished a residency in Emergency Medicine in metropolitan Detroit. This is where I grew up and where I still live today with my family. Currently, I am the chief of two emergency departments as well as serving as Chief Medical Officer of both Ascension hospitals in the area (Ascension Macomb and Ascension Oakland). I also continue to treat patients in our emergency departments.

As an emergency physician, disaster preparedness is part of our training. We follow the National Incident Management System (NIMS). I have also served as a medical director of a county EMS system. I assumed the role of Incident Commander for our hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic. This job was all-encompassing and involved coordinating our hospitals’ staff and resources to treat those affected with COVID disease. For over two months, our command post ran around the clock acquiring supplies and ventilators, expanding our ICUs, allocating testing supplies and PPE for our staff, and ensuring the highest quality care for our patients. This work continues today although, thankfully, COVID disease has abated in our area.

How did Notre Dame influence your career path?

I always knew I wanted to be a physician. I loved science and medicine from an early age. I also knew I wanted to help others. Notre Dame reinforced that in me. It reinforced the idea that your life has more meaning when you focus on others, especially those in need, and not always yourself. Notre Dame showed me a path to live my faith.

What message would you like to share with your Notre Dame family?

This pandemic has provided all of us the opportunity to come together. Let’s remember we’re all the same and made in the image of God. Life is fragile. Make the most of every day. Be the light in the darkness!

Marie Kruse ’15 is an architect in Stantec Architecture's Chicago Studio and is a member of the architecture team that assisted in the conversion of McCormick Place Convention Center into an 'Alternate Care Facility' for coronavirus patients.


What is your connection to Notre Dame?

Marie Kruse

I graduated from Notre Dame in 2015 with a Bachelor of Architecture. After graduation, I started working in Chicago for Stantec. Although my time as a student at Notre Dame was complete, I was able to return to campus time and time again as a professional while working on the new school of architecture building — the Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall of Architecture. The project was a collaboration between Stantec, the executive architect, and John Simpson Architects, the design architect. I was part of the design team throughout the project which was completed in January of 2019. My sisters, Chiara White (Kruse) '01 and Anna Dunnigan (Kruse) '05, also attended Notre Dame.

How is your work impacting the fight against COVID-19? 

McCormick Place Convention Center was selected as the site for an Alternate Care Facility in Chicago for coronavirus patients in the early stages of the pandemic. I was a member of the Stantec team that was on-site at McCormick Place assisting in the conversion of the convention center to an Alternate Care Facility. Stantec was selected as the design consultant to Walsh Construction due to our knowledgeable healthcare team, although a project like this was truly unprecedented and had a learning curve for even the most senior team members. The successfully completed Alternate Care Facility contained 2,750 beds (mix of low to high acuity), nurse stations, satellite pharmacies, medical gas storage, oxygen tank farm, housekeeping facilities, and patient showers. Designing for COVID-19 presented many unique challenges. How do you create an environment capable of treating/controlling an infectious disease of this nature in the largest convention center in North America? The HVAC design and air pressure control were critical. The scale presented the planning challenge of getting the most efficient layout within the existing structure while meeting required clearances and proximities to nurse stations as well as getting necessary utilities to the beds, isolation tents, and nurse stations. The project was incredibly fast paced; the plans for 2,750 beds throughout three halls needed to be completed within hours of being awarded the job, and the first 500 beds were turned over in a matter of days. McCormick Place was the only Alternate Care Facility designed to accommodate the sickest of COVID-19 positive patients.

How did Notre Dame influence your career path?

Notre Dame cultivated my commitment to social responsibility. I never expected my career as an architect to take me to the frontlines of a global pandemic. But it was an amazing opportunity for our team of architects and planners to do our part to help our community respond to this pandemic and I would happily volunteer again. I hope to continue to fulfill my social responsibility through the built environment. 

What message would you like to share with your Notre Dame family?

I am constantly inspired by the work and passions of the whole Notre Dame community — keep doing what you do best! I want to thank all the first responders and medical professionals who are the closest to this pandemic and a prime example of this commitment.

Bryan Lazorik ’19 EMBA owns Bryco Facility Services, a janitorial service in Northwest Indiana that is providing disinfection services to healthcare facilities, churches, and schools that have been affected by COVID-19.

What is your connection to Notre Dame?


I graduated in May 2019 from the EMBA Chicago program with Mendoza. I graduated Cum Laude and was inducted to the ND chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma after my first semester. I was part of a panel to speak with the incoming 2021 EMBA cohort this past January. I am also a donor to a fellowship our 2019 Chicago EMBA setup for future EMBA students, with a focus on women and minorities. I’m a member of the ND Club of Chicago and I’m always willing to help ND in any endeavors! I’m also on the board of directors for our industry association the Building Services Contractors Association International (BSCAI).

How is your work impacting the fight against COVID-19?

I founded Bryco Facility Services in June of 2001. We are a commercial janitorial service and provide cleaning services for offices, healthcare, and educational facilities. Since we've long been cleaning everything from exam rooms to operating rooms in surgical centers, most of our team members had advanced levels of disinfection training. When news of the potential pandemic started to rise in late February and early March, we were one of the first janitorial services in the nation to issue our policy statement on COVID-19, which included safety precautions for our valued employees as well as our clients. Most people pay little, if any, attention to janitorial workers. Often seen as “ghosts in the night,” it’s an industry that many take for granted and view as a luxury service, instead of a necessity. As I’m passionate about uplifting the image of the cleaning industry, I’ve long advocated that our services are essential to public health and safety, reducing sick days in offices and schools, increasing employee morale, and extending the life of facilities.

In this pandemic, our teams of frontline cleaners and area supervisors are cleaning essential facilities (many healthcare) at the end of the day, ensuring the environment is clean, disinfected, and safe when our clients return the next day. As soon as we issued our policy statement on COVID-19, we formed an Emergency COVID-19 Task Force, charged with the responsibility of completely disinfecting facilities that had a potential or known COVID-19 breach. We did a great job in sourcing proper PPE and chemicals early on and our teams take every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. We use chemicals that are the most sustainable and are the most effective against COVID-19 (as well as many other pathogens), and all of our chemicals are EPA-registered and approved for COVID-19 disinfection. We also use electrostatic sprayers for certain situations where they are most effective.

I truly believe these essential workers are critical to helping keep our communities safe. Many of our team members have commented to me how proud they are to be part of the solution and doing their part to help their community. Business as a force for good isn’t a dream, it’s a reality and I feel that our team is living that reality. I’m so proud and thankful to see janitorial workers being thanked and recognized for our efforts in this pandemic.

How did Notre Dame influence your career path?

I was unique in the EMBA program where most of my classmates came from corporate America, I was an entrepreneur. The education, connections and personal growth I received from Notre Dame has truly changed the way I lead my company and changed the way I assess critical or strategic situations. I believe my performance on boards as well as an executive leader has increased exponentially. My ND experience has opened opportunities to continue to grow my company in ways I never imagined.

What message would you like to share with your Notre Dame family?

I’m very blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to become part of the Notre Dame family. It’s funny, when you are accepted to ND they tell you about the ND family. At first thought, I remember thinking, “What great marketing!” However, quickly you realize that it’s not a marketing tactic; it’s a reality and something that you can’t put a price or value on. The bond you form with classmates, professors, and other alumni is something so incredible, perhaps ethereal, that it changes you and makes you a better person.

I’d like my ND family to know that I pray for our good health and safety during these difficult times. Keep rising above and setting new standards and continue being great leaders and influencers that promulgate good in our world. Love thee, Notre Dame!

Gracie Mikol ’22, a rising junior in the Mendoza College of Business, founded the nonprofit Fueled by Kids in 2016 to provide meals to food-insecure children.

What is your connection to Notre Dame?

I am still a student at Notre Dame, I just finished my sophomore year, and will graduate in 2022. I am in the Mendoza College of Business as a management consulting major with an innovation and entrepreneurship minor and a sustainability minor. I am a member of SCNO (Student Consulting for Non-Profits), Adopt a Family Christmas, and am the co-vice president of Transpose Dance Collective. 

How is your work impacting the fight against COVID-19?

Fueled By Kids is fighting against COVID-19 by helping to assure that students whose families were already food insecure or have become food insecure because of COVID-19 have a guaranteed source of food all week long. Children who live in homes that suffer from food insecurity face a high amount of uncertainty in their everyday lives which can prevent them from focusing on school work. Fueled By Kids attempts to relieve that uncertainty by making sure that these children have a guaranteed source of food all week long. Fueled By Kids works with the Manchester School District to identify and pass out bags at public elementary schools on Friday afternoons, combined with the National School Lunch Program, which provides students from low-income households with free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school, Fueled By Kids' weekend food bag assures these students have two meals a day every day of the week. When COVID-19 became an issue in the Manchester area we worked with the assistant superintendent to assure that our services would continue to be provided. Eight busses follow bus routes every weekday passing out bags of breakfast and lunch, our bags go on the busses every Friday to continue to provide weekend food. We also increased our number of weekly bags provided to 600 from 400 to try to respond to the increased need for our services as a result of COVID-19

How has Notre Dame influenced your path?

Notre Dame is focused on teaching us how to be leaders in not only business, but also in our communities. I started Fueled By Kids when I was in high school and what attracted me to Notre Dame was its commitment to giving back. I may not want to have a career in nonprofits, but Notre Dame is showing me how I can always keep giving back in my life. Our professors encourage us to find success in whatever industry interests us but also reminds us that to be truly successful we must use that success to help those less fortunate than us. 

What message would you like to share with your Notre Dame family?

I miss being on campus with my Notre Dame family, but just because we cannot physically be together we should not forget the spirit of the Notre Dame campus. Though times are tough, take the time today to try to find something positive about your day. The last few months are not what any of us could have imagined and we have all missed out on something we were looking forward to, instead of focusing on all we have missed, take a moment to remember a positive moment from quarantine that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. Above all else, thank God for your blessings and remember those that have less than you, say a prayer, send a donation, call your grandmother, and remember that we are a part of an amazing loving community that will support each other during this time. 

Heidi ’09 and Mark Witte ’09 began providing a children’s Liturgy of the Word on YouTube when churches closed due to the pandemic.


What is your connection to Notre Dame?


Heidi (Rocha) Witte '09: I graduated with a degree in American studies and studied Catholic Social Teaching, Education, Schooling and Society. In 2011, I graduated from the Alliance for Catholic Education program after teaching second grade at an inner-city Catholic school in New Orleans. I was also a member of the cross country and track and field programs, where I was a monogram winner and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. I was involved in the Center for Social Concerns, sang as a cantor for Breen-Phillips dorm Masses and with the Unchained Melodies a capella group.

Mark Witte ’09: Currently, I am a post-production manager in the University’s Office of Digital Learning, having graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 with degrees in English and Japanese. I was an R.A. in Dillon Hall, where I won the Dillon Hall Spirit Award, and competed in Bengal Bouts and was an intramural tennis champion. I also studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo.

How is your work impacting the fight against COVID-19? 

Our Children's Liturgy videos allow young children to continue to hear God's Word in a developmentally appropriate way during this time of pandemic. When our parish, Christ the King, closed due to the pandemic, Mark and I wanted to continue our 5-year-old daughter's faith formation. Normally, she attends Children's Liturgy at our parish, and I also help as a volunteer catechist for Children's Liturgy. We asked our parish if doing an online Children's Liturgy would be something they'd be interested in and they encouraged us to go for it. I was able to get in touch with my favorite children's liturgical composer, John Burland, and he graciously allowed us to use his music in our videos, and Pflaum Publishing also offered free weekly leaflets for families. It just all came together very organically (and definitely with the help of the Holy Spirit)! With my teaching background and Mark's production and editing skills, we have worked as a couple to create this ministry for children from all over the world. We had 2,500 viewers our first week, and since then, we've had children watching from South Africa to the UK to Australia! We've gotten many emails and messages from parents thanking us for helping their children during this difficult time. Many parents put it on for their children while they watch Mass. There are free coloring pages offered each week, and parents can send in their child's coloring sheet to be featured on the next week's Children's Liturgy video. (We received over 25 submissions of beautiful artwork last week!) We have also been told many times that the inclusion of children's liturgical music, movement (including signs in American Sign Language), and the interactiveness of these Children's Liturgy videos encourage their children to participate and have kept their children's attention. Music, movement, and speaking to our children in simple terms (or in their "language”) can really help young children understand the Gospels and their faith more easily and more fully! They are our future Church, so starting faith formation early is so important! Our hope is that more parishes will offer Children's Liturgy of the Word, so that young children can grow even more in their faith! We have been doing this for 12 weeks now, and we will continue until the end of the summer.

How did Notre Dame influence your career path?  

Heidi: My courses at Notre Dame opened my eyes to the injustices and inequalities in our country and in our world while also introducing me to the importance of Catholic Social Teaching, which deepened my faith in many meaningful ways. My courses also opened my ears to the call to serve, which is such an integral part of the mission of Notre Dame and something I so dearly love about our University. I participated in service trips including Urban Plunge, Appalachia Seminar, and a Summer Service Learning Project. This call and my desire to serve children led me to the teaching profession with the Alliance for Catholic Education program, where I taught as a second grade teacher in an inner-city Catholic school in New Orleans. The ACE program shaped me in countless ways and gave me the tools to serve my students and teach them at their level. Teaching second grade was also a special experience, as I was able to prepare my students for the sacraments of First Confession and First Communion, and I witnessed these special moments with them, sharing in their joy as they received Jesus for the first time. I continued serving as an inner-city Catholic school teacher in Los Angeles, and at present, I share the skills I learned in the classroom as a volunteer catechist for Christ the King's Children's Liturgy and as a mom of two. 

What message would you like to share with your Notre Dame family? 

May God bless you during these difficult times for our world and for our global Church. Please feel free to share our videos with your children, grandchildren, local parishes, or anyone else that may be interested in helping their children grow in faith. Our Children's Liturgy is on CatholicTV at 8:30 a.m. EST, on Christ the King South Bend’s YouTube channel, or anytime on our YouTube channel. We pray that you and your families stay healthy and safe!

Additional Domers Doing Good

Elitza Theel ’05

Elitza is the director of the Mayo Clinic’s Infectious Diseases Serology lab, which has been working to develop antibody tests to determine if people have already been infected by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Tim Toole, M.D. ’06

Tim is an emergency room physician currently caring for those with coronavirus in Tulsa, Oklahoma.