Annual Associates Dinner Takes Place at Cat Rock This Sunday
By Alison Rooney
The Desmond-Fish Library will host its annual Associates Dinner on Sunday, June 5, as is customary honoring someone nationally famous, in this instance Phil Donohue, and also acknowledging the contributions to the Philipstown community made by local individuals, who this year are Dr. Peter Gergely and Art and Stacy Labriola. For Library Director Carol Donick, “It’s hard to put into words what this event means to the library. Without it, Desmond-Fish would be a very different library, open fewer hours, with a smaller staff, fewer programs, fewer books, DVD’s and books on CD – less of everything. It’s interesting that some people who donate generously to the library through the Associates Dinner don’t use the library that much themselves, but they help keep the door open for everyone else in the community.”
This year’s event will take place at spectacular Cat Rock, magically situated overlooking Garrison and the Hudson. According to invitation notes, Frederick Osborn created Cat Rock as a fifth wedding anniversary present for his wife, Margaret. They named the retreat Cat Rock – after the mountaintop. The house and 100 acres remain in the family, and, as Donick points out, “Unlike the restaurants where the dinner has been held before, one can’t just decide to have dinner there whenever one wants. It’s only open for special events – like this very special event. Cat Rock is beautiful.”
Attendees will dine on salmon gravlaxv carpaccio, creme fraiche pillows, roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled Stone Ridge Cattle Company sirloin of beef as they enjoy the proceedings. A book and bottle auction will held during the dinner. Board members and members of the Dinner Committee each donated a special book and a bottle of wine or some other beverage to go with it. They’re then displayed at the dinner, and people can purchase them via a silent auction. Donick notes, “Right now I have a fascinating bottle in my office, which George Lansbury has donated, containing a full-grown pear.” A“Wish List” has been drawn up especially for the Dinner. Donick explains, “For $400, a person can donate a week’s worth of new books for the library. They can pick someone’s birthday week, or another significant time. We’ll put up a sign in the library that all new books added that week are donated by a particular person, or in honor of a particular person.”
residents. Their daughters, Lindy and Sara are following in their footsteps in many ways. Together and separately, Art and Stacy can be found at many community fundraisers, lending their talents to help raise cash for local nonprofits in the arts, the schools and for environmental causes. Donick says, “Art and Stacy Labriola have shared their considerable talents with so many worthwhile community organizations that they have made Philipstown a better place to live, especially for our children.” Stacy Labriola, in turn, says that she and her husband are “humbled that our community involvement is recognized yet we honestly feel that there are many folks in this town who do so much and are more deserving. This award was quite a surprise.”
The Alice Curtis Desmond Award will be given to Dr. Peter Gergely, who, in a little-known fact amongst the many local families who utilize his pediatric practice, came to the lower Hudson Valley 27 years ago as a Captain in the U.S. Army. After four years at Keller Army Hospital, West Point, as Chief of Pediatrics, he opened his own practice in 1990 and has served the surrounding community since then. Devoted to environmental causes, he has been very active in preserving shorelines and open spaces along both sides of the Hudson. He is an active board member of The Hudson Highlands Land Trust and the Hudson Highlands Coalition For Public Representation. Not content with just medicine and environmental activism, he has had a sidebar career as a painter. As a watercolorist, he illustrated his first book with Random House, The Way We Garden Now, in 2007. He just had his first major solo exhibit in New York at Tabla Rasa Gallery. Donick praised Gergely as a “Renaissance man who has done so much for the community, both through his pediatric practice and his watercolors.” Gergely responds in kind: “As a devoted Hudson Valley resident, I have fallen head over heels in love with the area. Not only am I lucky to be able to live here, but now I get to have others thank me me for being here! That’s what I call a dream come true.”
Donick is “grateful to our honorees. We’ve never paid anyone for speaking at the dinner, even – big names – like Tom Brokaw. Our board members also donate their time to make the dinner a success. We are also so grateful to the people who give generously to the library through the Associated Dinner every year. It makes an enormous difference to the library. Without it we would have to cut back the hours we are open, buy fewer books, and give up on keeping up with new technology.”
For more information visit http://dfl.highlands.com/. To check if spaces at the dinner are still available, please call the library at 845-424-3020.
Photos courtesy of DFL
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