From the YMCA to Paws Along the River, the backpack program to the David Martin Health and Dental Clinic, the lasting impacts of the Conarro family can be seen all over Warren County.
At a small gathering Monday, Hal and Mary Conarro were honored by the Community Foundation of Warren County for a lifetime of philanthropy.
Community Foundation Board Members Bob Crowley and Michelle Sokolski presented a plaque to the Conarros “recognizing their Lifelong Legacy of Philanthropy to the Community of Warren” and said there is another that will remain on display at the Community Foundation office.
Crowley said the Community Foundation would donate $5,000 to a charity of the Conarro’s choosing in honor of their philanthropy.
“The Conarros have used a variety of gift-giving channels to support the community they love,” he said. One of those is their Donor Advised Fund. Through that fund, the Conarros “have made gifts to 42 different charities over the last eight years and have given away over $400,000.”
In 1949, “Hal’s father, Harry, was one of the founders of the Community Foundation,”Crowley said. “Hal followed in his dad’s footsteps by ‘sustaining and enhancing the quality of life in Warren County through philanthropy’” — the mission of the Community Foundation.
Both Hal and Mary have been visible leaders in efforts to improve the community.
“One of Hal’s signature achievements was leading the 1995 Major Gifts division of the YMCA Capital Campaign,” Crowley said. “That one raised over $2 million. He also worked on the first YMCA Campaign… in the 1980s.”
“Hal also played a leaders role in the Paws Along the River Campaign in 2006 and the establishment of the David Martin Health and Dental Clinic,” Crowley said.
“Mary Conarro has been a huge advocate of the community with her own service to so many organizations,” he said listing many entities and accomplishments she has been a part of, including: the Warren County School District building utilization committee; Warren Main Street Committee; Warren City Council; president of the Woman’s Club “and a major supporter of it and its charitable affiliate — Education, Scholarship, Historic Preservation Group”; the Bird Viewing Platform; and “just last year Mary established and endowed the Mary Edwards Conarro Scholarship for students entering the nursing profession.”
Hal Conarro and his college friend and roommate, Bob Sokolski, founded Whirley Drinkworks and “established the “Whirley Scholarship Fund many years ago to provide higher education opportunities for children of Whirley Drinkworks! employees,” Crowley said. “Annually, they distribute a significant amount of dollars to students in pursuit of their careers.”
“We thank you… the community thanks you for all of that,” Crowley said.
“We love this community,” Hal Conarro said. “It’s a great place to live… a great place to raise your family. We’re lucky.”
“I grew up on Long Island,” Mary Conarro said. “When I met Hal, he brought me to Warren. The families I met were so welcoming. I’ve never looked back. Warren has always been the best place.”
Photo credit: Warren Times Observer