- The beautiful Westhampton Beach Country Club was the site of this year's Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) Black & White Benefit. The event took place on Friday, September 25 and the turnout in support of this essential medical facility was simply spectacular, as was the celebration itself.
2008 and 2009 Chairperson Karen Andrews.
The cocktail hour was held on the outdoor patio with magnificent sunset vistas of the lush green golf course. Besides the open bar in the club's tavern room, Bacardi and Grey Goose had a specialty drink table set up and another table across the patio had a pair of expert clam shuckers opening Little Necks non-stop at a cold bar. The hors d'oeuvres were delicious and the crowd was indeed dressed in the requested black and white, with many in formal wear.
The strong support for PBMC from the business and corporate community of the East End was evident in the multitude of silent auction items on display, including a five case wine lottery whose eclectic selection could have satisfied any palate. From vacations to sporting events from spa days to restaurant nights, there was something for everyone, all in support of the hospital's emergency services that are vital to the community.
The Black & White Benefit specifically raises money in support of the Emergency Services Department, as explained by PBMC President and CEO Andrew Mitchell
, "I would say that this is one of the most important events of the year for several reasons. One, it continues to support the mission and vision of our emergency center which continues to grow at a very rapid rate. Secondly, it helps cement the relationship that the medical center has with the Westhampton region, which is such an important part of our hospital community."
Black & White Benefit cocktail hour at the Westhampton Beach Country Club.
After years with a less than stellar history as Central Suffolk Hospital, PBMC has seen a meteoric rise in quality of care and reputation. This is due in no small part to its affiliation with Stony Brook University Hospital. Mitchell explained the relationship, "We completed the affiliation about three years ago and it has two major components to it. It has the clinical relationship with both the hospital and the medical school and then it has a financial component to it, but most important to us is the clinical. We are the only other hospital in the entire county that has the Stony Brook emergency medical faculty practicing at a community hospital emergency room. Stony Brook is the only level one trauma hospital in the county and to have those doctors at the medical center has so elevated the level of care for the region; it has given us the opportunity to raise the bar of clinical care tremendously. Financially Stony Brook continues to support many of the projects we have undertaken."
North Fork Bank founder and Peconic Bay Medical Center benifactor John Kanas.
Community support has risen just as meteorically, as proved out by the exceptional turnout in a difficult economy. Numerous PBMC staffers directed me to Joan Levan
as a driving force in the organizing of the first Black & White Benefit, "It started at a meeting in my house four years ago when we all said, 'What are we going to do as an annual event.' We all wanted a theme for the first year and we came up with Black & White, which is an event that is now synonymous with the medical center." She went on explain the importance of supporting the PBMC, "My husband has been there, I have been there, many of my friends and associates have been there. I think there are a lot of good charities, but this is a service that at some point in your life, young or old, you will need to use and it must be supported."
The 2008 and 2009 chairperson, Karen Andrews
, was thrilled with the success of this year's event, "It is a tough economy, but I think more and more people understand that this is our hospital and we need to support it. We have people here that are year-round residents, but we have many summer residents that have traveled out to the event this year. If anything happens to you out here, it is where you will go. You may have your doctors in Garden City or Manhattan, but PBMC can stabilize you and with the hospital's helipad, can airlift you to another hospital if necessary. I am an advocate for this hospital, I am passionate about it."
The Black & White Benefit, not only a great cause, a great party!
After the cocktail hour and silent auction browsing, the hundreds of supporters filled the country club's main dining hall and enjoyed the sumptuous dinner and packed the dance floor. Beyond support for a good cause, this is a great party. Among the honorees acknowledged by Mitchell during a pause in the festivities was North Fork Bank founder John Kanas
. His Kanas Foundation for Medical Care made a $2 million dollar donation in support of the PBMC state of the art surgical pavilion, which has been named in his honor.
I asked Kanas to comment on the incredible evolution of the hospital over the past five years, "It is quite remarkable. I am a native of eastern Long Island, as you know, and have been familiar with the hospital for my whole life. We are so overwhelmingly impressed with the progress that has been made at the hospital over the last five or six years. I credit the board and Andy Mitchell and some very brave efforts on their part to step out and try some things that, frankly, were very risky at the time and are paying off in a very rewarding way. We are privileged as a family to be associated with the hospital and intend to remain supporters for the foreseeable future."
Based on the community support expressed at the Black & White Benefit, that foreseeable future looks not only bright for the Peconic Bay Medical Center, but for the East End community it so admirably serves.
Manny and Marie Arduri, John Kanas, Andrew Mitchell and Mary Hoeffling.
Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com