Happy New Year 2011

| 22 Feb 2012 | 03:52

It’s that time of year again, when it’s out with the old and in with the new. Resolutions abound as we all commit to starting fresh and changing for the better. Maybe we’ll all actually do what we resolve to do. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get it right this time. It’s in that spirit that The Photo News takes a very quick look back at some of the comments from some of the people or organizations we met in 2010. Yes, their comments are only a sampling of the different things going on in our hometowns that make this notion of “community” so important in our lives. It’s these things that people and organizations do to “get it right” which make each of our communities a better place to live. We know there are many yet-to-be told stories out there, and we hope to introduce you to even more new people and organizations in 2011. So be sure to e-mail us at editor.pn@strausnews.com or call us at 469-9000 and let us know what’s going on in your neighborhood or community; or with your group, organization or someone important to you. We want to share those stories with everyone. A happy, healthy and prosperous 2011 from The Photo News to you and yours. “It’s important to give back. Yes, this reinforces safety but it also shows the students there are other people and other things in their lives to be involved with and not just self-centeredness.” Barbara Laetzo, the Monroe Presbyterian Preschool director, talking about the importance of her preschool community’s involvement in last spring’s trike-a-thon to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the lessons that involvement teaches them about helping others. “We’re turning this into a positive. One of the biggest things about Eddie was that he made you want to come together. I understand what happened. But now we’re thinking about how we can help others….. People want to help and are giving. We couldn’t ask for more, and it’s still happening.” Matt DiGiovanni, a guidance counselor who works at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School, talking about the community’s financial involvement in a golf tournament in memory of his good friend Ed Wallace, held last August. “It (the cupboard) makes things a lot easier. Diaper, formula and baby food is just so expensive. It takes the burden off my plate. Now, if I go to the pediatrician, I can afford the co-pays, or I can afford their clothing. There are still good people out there. “There are good hearted people who really care.” Heather Jones, a pseudonym for a Monroe woman who is a user of Our Mother’s Cupboard, which opened last February, talking how the community‘s efforts to support the cupboard have made such a positive impact on her life. “The one thing I see more and more is there are people who are willing to help. People are just recognizing that the economy is in bad shape and they are stepping up to help. That’s a great feeling.” Robert Jankelunas, a long-time volunteer at the Monroe Food Pantry, talking about the community’s support of the pantry with donations of food and cash. “They (Carryou’s beneficiaries) just don’t have enough to deal with the absolute basics (food, clothing, shelter). Their problems are so wide and so deep. It’s people like GGM students who can make a big difference. Over there, there’s a whole generation of students and parents equivalent to GGM students and parents here who have died of HIV-AIDS.” Philanthropist Sue Heywood of Tuxedo, talking about the importance of a school community like George Grant Mason School in Tuxedo, and its commitment to helping others in dire straits. “I’ve eaten many hamburgers in my time, so I think I qualify (to judge). And I’ve always been in the (restaurant) business. The kids are doing something ‘outside of the box.’ Nice to judge, nice to be asked and nice for the community.” Patrick Westfall, one of the judges for a hamburger “slider” competition at Monroe-Woodbury High School, who works at Cosimo’s Brick Oven in Central Valley, talking about the importance of bringing in members of the community to participate in events like this, so they can see first-hand what goes on in local schools. “I do feel like I am home. I feel like I’m a part of this community. I am so committed to Monroe-Woodbury that my wife and I are going to be purchasing a home in the district. Our house went on the market over the summer. As soon as it’s sold, we’ll be buying. In the meantime, we’re looking to rent here. It’s important for the superintendent to be living in this district.” Ed Mehrhof, the new Monroe-Woodbury schools chief, talking about how he feels it’s so important to be a part of the school community he now runs that he’s moving into the community. “This game is just a full picture of what we do every day for our families and community. Look. We have no walls here. We let our guard down. This game is the full personification of who we are. You feel that energy here; you’ll feel that energy at the game. It’s incredible.” Katie Oppelt, a third grade teacher at North Main Elementary School in Monroe, talking about the importance of the school community’s involvement in the annual faculty benefit basketball game to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the lessons that involvement teaches students about helping sick children. “She’s dedicated her life to sports at Tuxedo. We can certainly dedicate a day to her. It’s important for everyone to support her.” Mae Comerford of Greenwood Lake, a student at George F. Baker High School, talking about why the Greenwood Lake and Tuxedo communities were committed to helping the school’s scorekeeper Madeline Napolitano - who has kept score for 48 years - by holding a fundraiser to help her with expenses not covered by health insurance. “As grateful as we are for all these donations for Thanksgiving and Christmas - and we are truly grateful, come January and February, the need is still there.” Gail Dejmal, coordinator for the Monroe Presbyterian Food Pantry, thanking the community for its support the food pantry while talking about how the need to assist the area’s hungry never ceases. This selection of quotations and comments was gathered - and in many cases, originally reported - by Nancy Kriz.