Hundreds packed the Sandel Senior Center on South Park Avenue for the Friends of Senior Services, Inc.’s Monte Carlo Night fundraiser on May 3, which each year raises money for the facility and its programs.
FOSSI is a non-profit organization comprising volunteers dedicated to improving the quality of life for senior citizens in the Rockville Centre community. Village Trustee Emilio Grillo was this year’s event honoree “for his unwavering support” in sharing that mission, according to FOSSI president Berton Miller.
Proceeds raised at the event had not yet been calculated at press time Tuesday, but last year’s event brought in about $35,000, according to Chris O’Leary, director of the Sandel Center. Funds raised at the event in previous years have gone toward automatic doors, a handicapped-accessible bus, bathroom renovations and annual volunteer luncheons, among other projects, she added.
After a cocktail hour, during which attendees tested their luck and skill at blackjack, roulette, craps and other casino table games, O’Leary gave a gift to Grillo, on behalf of FOSSI, as she recalled a conversation the two of them had after he was named this year’s honoree.
“He talked about his philosophy of life, and he said, ‘Life is good, and my glass is half full,’” O’Leary said, giving him a plaque and a mug with a similar slogan.
Grillo told the crowd that he attended his first FOSSI event in 2006 with his wife, Christine, and had one of the best nights of his life. “The work that FOSSI’s done on behalf of the Sandel Center is immeasurable, not only in physical value, but in emotional value,” he said.
He also lauded O’Leary, as well as Nancy Codispoti, the Sandel Center’s deputy director, for all they do on a daily basis for the village’s older adults.
“One thing that you’ll see in the newspapers a lot is Rockville Centre is a great town to raise a family,” Grillo said. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not just a great town to raise a family. It’s a great town within which to live your entire life. And it’s through the efforts of Chris, Nancy and the entire staff here, that really separates this facility and our village from any other place, not only on Long Island, but in New York.”