SPRYE a Little Tenderness
When you select a wonderful, warm, witty, and well-deserving honoree, you can count on a packed party. For the past seven years, SPRYE has done just that.
At this year’s benefit, October 4 at Apawamis Club, a crowd of supporters from near and far paid tribute to Barbara Brunner for decades of meritorious volunteerism. It was a double-feature for her as SPRYE made sure her 80th birthday, earlier in the week, did not go uncelebrated.
After receiving a glowing introduction from Joan Feinstein, Brunner, with her signature grace and humor, said: “It’s always a great day when you’re in a room full of ‘spry’ people.” She assured the audience that 80 was the new 50.
For Brunner, there was never any doubt she would become a volunteer. “I just needed to figure out where and how I might be most helpful. It all fell into place quite naturally — sometimes I went to the source and sometimes the source came to me, usually a friend.
“What I know is that whether I’m delivering a hot meal, being a sous-chef in a soup kitchen, witnessing the naturalization of our newest American citizens, or volunteering these past seven years with SPRYE, I am the lucky one.”
She recalled being so impressed with SPRYE’s stated mission in the very first newspaper article back in 2010 that she emailed Tom Saunders (president at the time) and told him to sign her up!
“The rest is history. I am proud to be a SPRYE volunteer. I know that you will be there for me when I need you.
“During my journey with so many of my fellow seniors and young people alike, I have listened, I have learned, I have shared (sometimes a glass of wine), and I have made long-lasting friendships.
“This room is full of volunteers, so you know this story well. In the end it is all about making someone’s day a little brighter – especially ours.”
Brunner noted that a quote attributed to Mahatma Ghandi speaks perfectly to this mission: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
And she left us laughing when she recalled a bumper sticker she’d seen years ago: Support Bingo, Keep Grandma off the Streets.
“Well, I’m here to say you should definitely continue to support Bingo, but please allow this grandma to stay on the streets.”
Mayor Josh Cohn with honoree Barbara Brunner
Sue Autry, Arthur Stampleman and Cynthia McKay, and Richard and Sandy Jacoby
Nancy Haneman, Matt Anderson, and Isobel Perry
Jessica Lodato and Chris Collins
Gene and Nancy Collins with County Executive George Latimer
Svend and Debbie Hansen
Rye GOP Regulars: Lizza Reyes-Clark, Barbara Brunner, Elaine DiCostanzo, Mark Doran, and former Mayor Doug French
John and Bess Lane with Gerry and Sue Seitz
Charlie and Hilary Garland
Roz Carvin, Carrie French, and Cindy Kuster
Photos by Edwin Villa, Villa Views and Julieane Webb