NEW HAVEN - After 71 years in business, Fab's Cleaners on Grand Avenue in New Haven closed its doors last winter. But, one-long time patron is thankful their customer service continued well beyond closing time.
In April, Anthony Fabrizio, one of Fab's co-owners, was busy filling dozens of bags with clothing that had been left behind to donate to New Haven's Nathan Hale School, where his daughter teaches. But, there was one item he did not include in those bag.
"We were going through the clothes and we spotted a letterman's jacket," said Fabrizio's daughter, Phyllis Voira.
It was a Wilbur Cross High School basketball letterman's jacket that had been in Fab's possession for 41 years.
Voira, a technology teacher at Nathan Hale for 13 years, told the school's assistant vice principal about the find. He told her he would keep the jacket out of the school's clothing drive and try to find the owner.
"There is a patch on the front of the jacket that says '71-'72 state champs," said Assistant Principal Scott Voisine, who noted the name "Ken" was also stitched on the jacket. That was enough information for Voisine to work with when he went to Wilbur Cross for an administrative workshop this summer.
"I said that when I went Cross that day that I would find an opportunity to go over over to the trophy case and see if I could find a team picture," said Voisine.
The owner of the coat turned out to be Kenny Cusano, who, until two weeks ago, hadn't seen the coat since a January 1975 apartment fire, after which the letterman jacket and a bunch of other smoky clothes were brought to Fab's cleaners and forgotten.
"He went totally above and beyond, you know, to find me," said Kenny Cusano, a 1972 graduate of Wilbur Cross who on Tuesday put the coat on for the first time since high school.
Voisine said, "Everyone should try to, on a daily basis, do something nice for someone else."
If the owners of Fab's had stuck to their $5 weekly storage charge, Cusano would have owed nearly $11,000, but that was waived in the spirit of the incredible discovery.