The Stony Brook Southampton Hospital held its 61st annual fundraising gala at Wickapogue Road on August 3, 2019 with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. Honorees Martin and Jean Shafiroff worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the evening calling on their friends John Catsimatidis and Georgina Bloomberg, as well as Howard Lorber, Wilbur Ross and John Paulson to donate generously to this pivotal institution. The 125-bed Stony Brook Hospital, which merged with Southampton Hospital in August 2017, is centrally located in the Village of Southampton and admits more than 6,000 patients annually with 25,000 emergency visits each year.
Everyone knows someone whose life was saved by this critical health care facility. Consequently, this gala has become a staple on the calendar of many prominent Hamptonites including: Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Melanie and John Wambold, Dottie Herman, Jane Scher, Libbie Mugrabi, Ruth Miller, Joe Fichera, Ava Roosevelt, and dozens of others.
The tickets were sold-out in advance with 700 people gladly paying a reasonable $500 for cocktails, dinner, entertainment and a gift bag. Moreover, the decor donated by Lawrence Scott Events was spectacular with giant flowers gracing the tables, dance floor and tent.
Scott is the most sought after event planner as he transports guests to a one-of-a-kind place that creates indelible memories (his tall, movie star looks don’t hurt). The food Scott provided was equally splendid with the salmon, rice and meat dishes served alongside a stunning array of sumptuous desserts that left me salivating.
Kudos to whoever was in charge of the air conditioning system, the cool tents were orchestrated perfectly without a sweaty forehead in sight – a remarkable achievement on a scorching August night.
There were many competing events but none as critical as ensuring summer residents have access to top-notch health care on the Eastern end. When philanthropist Jean Shafiroff is in attendance it is guaranteed there will be hordes of photographers documenting her grand entrance.
Tonight, Shafiroff didn’t disappoint as she arrived in a sweeping turquoise and blue Carolina Herrera gown that left attendees oohing and aahing! She gave a brief speech asking for a moment of silence for the recent shooting victims, and calling attention to the pivotal work of the Hospital.
Jean has graced more Hamptons magazine covers than Christie Brinkley and she and her husband Martin’s indefatigable efforts were recognized by CEO Bob Chaloner who presented them with a bouquet of flowers that she graciously accepted.
Another Shafiroff friend, emcee Chuck Scarborough, set a classy tone for the evening as he lauded the work of the Shafiroff’s and praised the much admired CEO of Southampton Hospital Bob Chaloner. Chaloner has dedicated his 30-year long career to turning around struggling community hospitals and has reestablished the Southampton Hospital as one of the premier institutions on Long Island.
When asked the key to his success he recently responded, “it has nothing to do with book smarts, but a lot to do with listening, learning, humility and admitting I don’t always know the answers.” These are the remarks of a true professional who does his job in a low-key manner that has pleased the most fastidious Hamptons client.
After all the heady speeches concluded, guests were treated to the delightful tunes of “Groove Society” with a packed dance floor containing the likes of Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright and Southampton mayor Jesse Warren. Warren, 36, the youngest mayor ever elected, beat incumbent Michael Irving by garnering 450 votes as compared to Irving’s 405. He is also the owner of clothing store Tenet in East Hampton and Southampton – leaving him little time to enjoy the summer months.
Warren is seeking to change the bureaucratic lags associated with government as he proceeds to ambitiously promote sustainable development and improved beach access with an eye towards bringing back vibrancy to Southampton’s once bustling Main Street. Guests were running over to shake this dynamos hand as his readily approachable manner was well received.
The evening concluded at 10:30 PM as attendees received a goody bag containing an umbrella, a hat, numerous books and a ticket to obtain ice cream-once again proving this event is the biggest bang for the buck in the entire Hamptons season.