In recognition of National Gratitude Month, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial advisors are donating a total of $7,500 to several food pantries, churches and school districts throughout Western New York. The initiative — which is rolling this Thanksgiving week — is called “Banksgiving.”
It is being done in honor of National Gratitude Month.
In Genesee County, the organizations benefitting from the Banksgiving donation are The City Church in Batavia and Hope Center of Le Roy Inc.
“At Tompkins Bank of Castile, supporting the communities we serve is one of our core values and highest priorities. We’ve seen first-hand the pandemic’s impact on individuals and businesses in our own communities,” said John McKenna, president and CEO.
“In honor of our customers and in support of those in our communities, we’ve made additional contributions to support local organizations, which have become a lifeline for many during this difficult time.”
Calling him “part of the fabric of our team,” the executive director of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse fondly remembers longtime residential services kitchen manager Sterling Stroman who passed away on Sunday after a six-year battle with cancer.
“It is so sad to hear about the passing of Sterling. He was part of the fabric of our team at GCASA and always brought his kind energy to everything he did,” John Bennett said.
Stroman, a Batavia native who graduated from Oakfield-Alabama Central School, was 55.
His wife, Ella, informed family and friends of his death.
“I would like to let you know that my husband Sterling has passed away … he went very peaceful and did not suffer any more than he did,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “He is in a better place. I also would like to thank everyone for your love and prayers.”
A fun-loving and caring individual who made friends easily, Stroman made the headlines last November when, through arrangements made by HomeCare and Hospice, was able to scratch off a couple big ticket items on his “bucket list.”
First, he and his family were treated to a Buffalo Sabres game, where he was able to meet star Jack Eichel and Hall of Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek, and a couple weeks later, he was able to meet his pro sports hero, John Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback of his beloved Denver Broncos, when the team faced the Bills in Buffalo.
Closer to home, on May 2, Stroman was honored with a parade – led by the City of Batavia Fire Department – that traveled past his house on North Lyon Street.
Organized by his sister, Michelle, and sister-in-law Robin Gangarossa, the parade of love and support included about 50 cars, filled with friends, GCASA colleagues and family members.
Nicole Davis, director of residential services at GCASA, said Stroman was “committed, dependable and dedicated to those that we serve.”
“Sterling certainly was a staple in residential services,” Davis said. “He was that employee that would positively boast about our staff, services, and residents, and he would always make us laugh with his many quips and life stories. We all count ourselves lucky to have known a man like him, and we miss his presence every day.”
Bennett said Stroman’s memory will live on as part of the nonprofit organization’s expansion to the Atwater House residential facility. Stroman worked at GCASA for more than 20 years.
“It will be fitting to honor his memory in our new residential program as we plan to dedicate the new kitchen and cafeteria in his name,” Bennett said. “Preparing and serving meals were his way to share the love he had for others.”
Friends are invited to call from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at The City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia. A 1 p.m. “Celebration of Life” will immediately follow at the church. He will be lain to rest in Grand View Cemetery.
The Rev. Martin Macdonald, City Church pastor, said that Stroman was “one of the kindest and gentlest men I ever met.”
“Sterling would truly help or do anything for anyone at any time,” Macdonald said. “We loved him, and he definitely will be missed.”
Memorials may be made to: GCASA Atwater, 430 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.
The City Church invites you as we celebrate the Christmas Season. You and your family are welcome to any or all of these services. From Special Music Nights to Candlelight Services we want to celebrate this special season with you.
The City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia. /St. Anthony's, 114 Liberty St, Batavia. Visit us online: www.thecitychurch.com or call 585-343-6895.
The City Church invites you to come out on Christmas Eve for our annual Candlelight Service.
We will be having two services this year, one at our City Church location at 210 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia at 6 p.m. and one at our St. Anthony’s location at 114 Liberty St in Batavia at 8 p.m.
This service is one of our most beautiful events we have all year. With our Christmas decor up, tree lights on, and friendly faces, you will have a warm place to be on Christmas Eve.
We begin our night singing together, then the kids will be brought up front for a traditional telling of the Christmas story. We have a choir and song specials throughout the night, and we end the evening by lighting our candles, symbolizing the light that was sent to us on that beautiful Christmas day.
We are thankful to be able to plan this service on such a beautiful night to remember what this wonderful Christmas season is about. Everyone is welcome and every child receives a gift before they leave.
We would love to have you join us on Christmas Eve (Monday, Dec. 24).
6 p.m. at The City Church location on 210 E. Main St.
8 p.m. at the St. Anthony’s location on 114 Liberty St.
The Batavia City Church will host guest speaker Erin Kelly, oldest daughter of Buffalo Bill's former quarterback Jim and his wife, Jill, as part of their Life Night Service.
The service will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 4. The church's band will start the service and then Erin will share thoughts and personal experiences from her latest book "Kelly Tough." A question and answer session will follow.
The book is a story of love between a father and his daughter. In her book, she emphasizes how her faith in God and ability to find strength in weakness helped her to withstand the challenges of her father's and brother's illnesses.
Marty Macdonald, senior pastor at The City Church, talked with Jill Kelly's brother, Jack Wagner, to set up having Kelly speak at The City Church. According to Macdonald, the church loves what the Kelly family stands for and everyone is looking forward to hearing her story of family love and the greater love of the heavenly Father.
"I hope it will really bring people home," Macdonald said. "There are so many people in our society that are facing challenges whether it's cancer or broken homes or loss of employment, so many things that bring pain and hurt to people. Our hope is that as Erin is sharing her story it will bring great encouragement and hope to let them know that, hey, you can make it. You can go on another day and you don't have to give up."
The City Church regularly invites guest speakers to share their stories at their weekly Life Night Service. The church will welcome their next guest, Pastor Tommy Reid, for their Sunday morning service at 8:30 a.m. on June 7.
As I left the office this afternoon in search of some news, I found Pastor Marty MacDonald operating a fork lift, hoisting a large container of adult diapers into a small pick up truck.
A whole crew of people were outside The City Church warehouse loading up cars, vans and trucks with food, household cleaners, shampoo and other necessities. MacDonald said his church was distributing about 50,000 lbs of items today.
Representatives from churches from throughout WNY were retrieving the good to distribute in their communities. They came to Batavia from Niagara, Penn Yan, Arcadia, Akron, Rochester, Churchville and North Tonawanda, and other towns.
"They will take these items back to their communities to help people in these tough economic times," MacDonald said.
He said distributions of this scale happen about every six to eight weeks.