East Meadow's Person of the Year, Randi Shubin Dresner

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Shubin Dresner lived for a time with her children in Queens, but returned to East Meadow in 1988 to be closer to her mother, who had multiple sclerosis. Rhoda died a year later, and in 1994 Shubin Dresner purchased her childhood home and moved back in.

At the time, she recalled, several of her childhood friends lived on her block, having either never left or bought their parents’ homes. “So when September rolled around, we were all standing at the bus stop together again,” she said. “There we all were. With kids that were in elementary school.”

Her kids “are definitely at the center of her world,” said her sister, who also lives in East Meadow and is an enthusiastic volunteer at local synagogues and Girl Scout organizations. “I think one of the driving forces in what she does is that she wants to be a good example to her son, her daughter and her nieces.”

During her decade-plus as Island Harvest CEO, Shubin Dresner has cemented an East Meadow connection to the organization. Several staff members and volunteers are from East Meadow.

Saundra Leblang, Island Harvest’s vice president of finance and administration, graduated from East Meadow High with Shubin Dresner in 1978. Though the two weren’t close in high school — and in fact didn’t reunite until Leblang’s Island Harvest job interview — their familiarity with each other helped them develop a strong relationship. “It was such a fabulous click,” said Leblang, who has worked at the organization for six years and now lives in Woodbury. “It was a click because it was like coming home for me, working at Island Harvest.”

Leblang credited the organization’s successful response to Hurricane Sandy to Shubin Dresner’s dedication. “Because of the organization she created, we were able to get into emergency response mode before the hurricane even happened,” Leblang said. “She’s so passionate about what she does.”

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