Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 10 September 2010 00:00
The Rotary Rides! program was a large part of the events during the kickoff for the 27th Oyster Festival, Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17. It was a time to meet the people who made it all happen. That included Gail Speranza, Doubleday Babcock Senior Center executive director; Paul Rosen, operations manager for Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House Assisted Living; Rotarian Donna Lee (who was unable to attend the event); Paul Mori, senior manager of operations, Hendrickson Bus Company; Rotary Rides customer Pablo Cruz; and Rachel Dombrowsky, president of Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House Assisted Living who sponsored Mr. Cruz. Profits from Rotary’s involvement with the Oyster Festival will be used to fund Rotary Rides!
Ms. Speranza has been a spokesperson at public meetings where discussions were held on how to deal with the loss of the MTA Able Rides program.
She said she was glad that Rotary had taken on the challenge and in July donated $5,000 in seed money. She thanked Paul Rosen, operations manager for Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House Assisted Living for his support and enthusiasm to help fill the need after the loss of service to many disabled residents needing to get to medical appointments.
She thanked Rotarian Donna Lee for temporarily handling the Rotary Rides! phone and said the new number is 922-2650. She asked that donations be sent to the Oyster Bay Charitable Fund, at P.O. Box 132, Oyster Bay, NY 11771. Please be sure to enter “Rotary Rides” in the memo line.
Paul Mori, senior manager of operations, Hendrickson Bus Company said the company is happy to be providing the transportation for Rotary Rides. He said he has worked with Paul Rosen on the Oyster Festival – their buses pick up festival-goers in Syosset and along their route to the festival event. He said Kevin Clifford, the company owner, is glad to be able to help. ‘We have the equipment and the knowledge to get it done. We worked with Donna Lee on the scheduling and arranging the service. It benefits everyone in the community,” he said.
That was when Ms. Speranza held up the new Rotary Rides logo and then introduced Pablo Cruz who has been transported to appointments for dialysis in Syosset. She said when Rachel Dombrowsky, president of Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House Assisted Living, heard about Mr. Cruz’s problem after the Able Rides were stopped, she offered to sponsor Mr. Cruz’ trips until Rotary Rides took over.
“Thank you Rachel,” said Ms. Speranza, and read a statement from Mr. Cruz. He said, “Rotary Rides is a very important service since my life depends on dialysis. Rotary Rides is very caring. They always help me get on and off the bus.”
That is a meaningful comment for anyone who is disabled: entering and getting off a vehicle is always a time for concern. His appreciation of the help is telling of the kind of service Rotary Rides! is providing.