If you simply pay attention, you will see amazingly beautiful things happening all around you. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to sit at the same dinner table with Mary Doris DiCaprio, her husband Al and two of their sons, Paul and David. Paul and I serve on the Board at Liberty ARC. He’s a very sharp guy who has had a wonderfully successful career in the silicon industry and has contributed so much of value to the Liberty organization. David DiCaprio works at Liberty and is served by some of its programs. He was born in 1969 with Down Syndrome. He is a gem of a young man. For slightly more than two hours that April evening, as Mary Doris sat between her two sons at that table, I had the opportunity to listen to a wonderful Mom share stories of raising her four boys, of her marriage to Al, of her own important role as a Liberty Board member during that agency’s formative years. But I also had the opportunity to observe a Mom interact with her two sons, to actually feel the pride and joy and love she had for each of them and they for her. I guess you had to be there to understand why it had such an impact on me and also on my wife, but it did. So thank you Mary Doris and I hope your 85th birthday was as special as you are.
I wish Maureen Hand had been one of my high school English teachers. Why? Because you can tell she is absolutely passionate about all types of literature and truly appreciates that people use language in such different ways. You really can’t teach English effectively without that passion or appreciation. After spending a quarter of a century teaching the subject at Amsterdam High School, she has devoted much of her retirement to continuing to help and encourage people to become more expressive and better writers. She does workshops, writes poetry and fiction and is a driving force behind the award-winning “Amsterdam Reads” program. Her work on behalf of the Amsterdam Free Library has been exemplary as well and she is an amazing mom and grandmother to boot. Our community is so lucky to have this talented, creative and very generous woman within our midst. Happy Birthday Maureen and thank you for all you’ve done and what you continue to do for folks in this community!