One thing that Robert Chaloner, the Chief Administrative Officer of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, never doubted over the course of the COVID-19 crisis was the professionalism of his team. It was the skill and the compassion of the doctors, residents, nurses, technicians and environmental service workers, he says, that was evident throughout the pandemic.
“This has been an unbelievable time for all of us in healthcare, a time that I will admit was quite frightening for many of us, myself included as we saw the COVID numbers steadily climbing through March and April,” says Chaloner. “The look of fear on our patient’s faces, the look of fear on many of our staff member’s faces was frightening to all of us, and we did not know where this was going to go.”
It was during this time that the East End community banded together to honor the healthcare heroes, for their tireless work and their bravery.
“These are true professionals who put their own fears aside and came to work every day to take care of the patients in a time when we didn’t have a lot of good information about this crisis,” he says. “Since then we’ve seen our numbers drop, we’ve seen our hospital emerge from the other side of this crisis and we’ve seen our clinical results be nothing short of spectacular and more importantly, the care and the compassion that’s been demonstrated by our community hospital is just breathtaking.”
The first Saturday in August has always meant one thing to the Southampton hospital’s healthcare community and supporters. This year marks the 62nd annual Summer Party—one of the grandest and longest-running fundraisers on the East End.
Things are, of course, different this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the gala has changed its theme from “Gala in the Garden” to “Gala in Your Garden,” offering supporters a way to celebrate with friends and family in their own homes.
The Summer Party plays an important role in supporting the hospital’s Jenny & John Paulson Emergency Department. This year’s event, which is chaired by Howard Lorber and Kenneth Wright, will also raise funds for the future East Hampton Satellite Emergency Department and for the Healthcare Heroes Fund, a fund established during the outbreak.
“We had to get really creative to find a way to bring people together safely, ensuring they will have a great time and still raising much needed funds,” says Chaloner. “I think we’ve come up with the perfect solution by delivering the party to our patrons, they can stay at home to host and get together as a group virtually, to toast our healthcare heroes.”
Guests who purchase a “table” will receive everything that they need to host a cocktail hour followed by a full dinner party for up to 10 guests, with goods provided by local East End vendors and artisans. There will be a “7 Minutes at 7 p.m.” virtual toast. The toast features Chaloner, award-winning actor Liev Schreiber and others, and will focus on this year’s honorees, the hospital employees.
Joining virtually will also be the host committee, which includes Donna Karan, Gabby de Felice, Liev Schreiber, Georgina Bloomberg, Joey Wölffer, Jean Shafiroff, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Andrea Correale, Kristen Farrell, Maria Fishel, Jim and Hollis Forbes, Francine Le Frak, Fern Mallis, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, NYS Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren, Cindy Willis, Laura Lofaro-Freeman, Martha McCully, Lynn Scotti, Anetta Nowosielska and Nina Rumbough.
“We have had a longstanding relationship with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. During the height of the pandemic, Wölffer Kitchen played a role in the hospital’s meal train program. We donated over 300 meals, it was such an honor to participate and feed hospital workers and medical staff,” says Joey Wölffer, a member of the host committee, who will be hosting a small group of family and friends in her backyard.
“I grew up in the Hamptons, and live here with my husband and two daughters, it’s home,” Wölffer continued. “I’m dedicated to our community, and it’s important to show my support to the hospital who work so hard to save lives. I’m grateful for the local heroes who risk their lives to save others, they deserve to be celebrated.”
“Tables” begin at $5,000. Hosts will receive a party box created by Janet O’Brien of Events Hamptons and florists and designers, Kim Jon Designs. Inside will be a selection of rosé, red or white wines from title sponsor, Wölffer Estate Vineyards. They’ll also find goods from local tequila brand Montaukila, delicious hors d’oeuvres, cookies and Margarita mix by Janet O’Brien.
And it doesn’t stop there. There’s also gifts from Hamptons Handpoured Candles, Amagansett Salt Company and Southampton Soap Company. A floral design for a tablescape will also arrive from one of several local florists including Sag Harbor Florist, Kim Jon Designs and Anchor & Bloom.
There is also a $50 ticket available for anyone who would like to join in the virtual toast.
“It’s been a wonderful experience working with all these local entrepreneurs,” says Director of Brand Experience, Mirella Cameran Reilly. “We are so lucky to serve this community which is so kind, generous, talented and creative. While completely different, this year’s annual Summer Party is going to be absolutely wonderful in its own way and we are so happy to dedicate the night to honoring our healthcare heroes.”
Guests who buy a “table” will receive dinner delivered from local restaurants including 75 Main in Southampton and Calissa in Water Mill. Dinner orders must be placed by Thursday, July 30 at 5 p.m.
“I will never have enough words to express my gratitude for the people that I work with every day and the incredible job they’ve done caring for our communities,” says Chaloner. “You can all rest assured that this hospital is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year caring for all of your health needs and no matter what the pandemic brings, we will be ready for you. We look forward to serving you. We hope you are all staying safe.”
For more info visit southampton.stonybrookmedicine.edu.