BY GIACINTA PACE – NBC News
William Kucmierowski, akaBrimstone, is an international entertainer with a career that spans well over three decades. He is a Jack of all trades and over the years his diverse and unique jobs have included professional wrestler, actor, author, musician, philanthropist, food critic and comic book guru. As a child actor, he made appearances on iconic pop culture shows such as Sesame Street and Romper Room and later became well-known on the professional wrestling scene. As the co-founder, President and CEO of Hound Comics, Inc.(Hound Entertainment Group), Brimstone and his team of creators launched the popular comic book series, Brimstone and The Borderhounds in 2010 which later went worldwide via many of the major booksellers.
If all of this wasn’t enough, Brimstone also stars as the host of a web-based celebrity food show called Food Hound: Tidbits, which is currently in its third season. The series is filmed while on tour making appearances at pop culture conventions around the country at events such as Wizard World, Stan Lee’s Comikaze and New York Comic Con. This non-conforming foodie also has a multi-award winning line of gourmet sauces and seasonings and claims that the cherry on top of his successes is the signature drink “The Brimstone Red” created for him by the Jack Daniel’s Distillery.
In addition to all of his professional successes, Brimstone also has a soft spot for charities and is involved with several philanthropy groups including The Stan Lee Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy Association, St. Mary’s Healthcare System for children and many, many more.
The Stan Lee Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs and ideas that provide people of all ages access to literacy resources. The organization aims to promote diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts and embrace innovation, integrity and scholarly and artistic engagement to build a community of learners, collaborators and creators.
United Cerebral Palsy Association Of Nassau County (UCPN), founded in 1948, is an independent, not-for-profit health agency serving over 1,800 children and adults with cerebral palsy, developmental and other disabilities. They operate a comprehensive Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Roosevelt, New York which has earned international recognition for innovative and high quality programs.
St. Mary’s Healthcare System For Children is committed to improving the health and quality of life for children and families dealing with medical issues. They are one of only a handful of organizations around the country that is dedicated to providing intensive rehabilitation, specialized care, and education to children with special needs and life-limiting conditions. St. Mary’s is where children and their families come to receive care, learn to manage their illness or injury, and achieve a better quality of life.
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q. You are very involved with a variety of charities, what are a few of the ones that really tug at your heart strings?
Brimstone: To be completely honest… every charitable cause tugs at my heart strings. I like helping people… I enjoy being able to give back to people in need whenever I possibly can. I’m involved in a wide variety of charitable causes, however the one I work with most directly is The Stan Lee Foundation which promotes literacy in children and young adults. I’m actually doing a lot with United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau County this year in terms of making appearances at a few of their events, as well as scheduling a surprise meet and greet at their location… I’m pretty psyched about seeing all of those smiling faces. Little do they know, not only am I stopping by, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be bringing along some gifts for the younger children from my friends over at Build-A-Bear Workshops! Build-A-Bear is actually one of the amazing sponsors of my personal children’s initiative that I do in conjunction with my role as the celebrity spokesperson for the Stan Lee Foundation. While I’m touring across the country at different pop culture and comic book conventions, libraries and schools – I look to pass out free branded coloring and activity books to the kids that attend. I think it’s important to promote visual literacy and creativity in our little ones at an early age! I’m also doing some fun stuff with the Empire Saber Guild which is an official Lucas film approved, Star Wars costuming group. The ESG works directly with St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, raising funds by performing at events. They’ve created a ‘Special Edition’ Brimstone card that fans receive with any size donation to the charity and I in turn – sign it for free.
Q. Why do you support these charities?
Brimstone: I involve myself with some charities for specific reasons; but in the grand scheme of things… I just feel the need to give back to those in need. I’m a huge advocate for anything that benefits the well being of children – whether it be via special needs hospitals and events, or the promotion of literacy and creativity within our youth. This is the reasoning behind my assistance with the Stan Lee Foundation, UCPN and St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital among countless others. To be blunt – whenever I have the opportunity to do something positive for the kids – I normally jump at it (schedule permitting). I think that the world needs more positive role models – I hope that my efforts inspire others within the entertainment community to do the same. I aspire to inspire – the more people out there doing the right thing, the closer we are on bridging the gap between countless causes in need. Although I work with a good variety of the larger named charities; I prefer to support the smaller and more obscure foundations who unfortunately don’t receive the same funding that some of the bigger players do.
Q. Is there a particularly moving moment that you have had while working with these groups?
Brimstone: Actually, it’s all moving to me. There are a lot of different occasions where I have those tear jerking, water work provoking moments… especially when visiting terminally ill children. I personally wouldn’t want to cheapen the memories I have by minimizing them to only one. People should know that monetary donations aren’t the only way to help these foundations – personal interaction and caring enough to spend time (even if only a little) goes a long way in a child’s battle with an illness. I always try to spend that extra time whenever humanly possibly.
Q. What is the nicest thing that someone has done for you?
Brimstone: That is a great question and I really had to think about this… I would have to say that the nicest thing that someone’s done for me was taking in my family following Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that followed. I was across the country on tour in Texas when the storm hit and couldn’t get back home fast enough to be with my family. When I eventually made it home, we were without power for about two weeks in total! Although my wife held out for quite some time refusing to leave our home… our friend/neighbor wouldn’t take no for an answer and were kind enough to take us all in until the power was finally restored (dog included). It was quite possibly the sweetest thing that anyone has ever done for me without expecting anything in return.