BY JAMIE KEMPTON
Photos by Bob Wallace
Jim Kane’s roots at the YMCA run deep. The Nyack native and lifelong resident started as a young pinsetter on the Y’s bowling lanes and learned all manner of sporting activities at the historic brick building on South Broadway. “I bowled, set up the pins, played basketball, billiards, ping pong, dancing, you name it,” Kane said. As a 16-year-old in 1943, he refereed his first basketball game at the Y, launching a 70-year officiating tenure that concluded just three years ago.
Kane was one of the community leaders honored during the Rockland County YMCA’s Night of MAGIC (Making a Genuine Impact on Children) on December 1 at the Nyack Seaport. More than 200 members of the community gathered to honor Kane and his wife Eleanor, who both earned the Service to Youth Award; Town of Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips Jr., Distinguished Service Award; and Joe Rand, “Chief Creative Officer” of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Rand Realty, Community Service Award. Proceeds from the event are to support children and teen’s participation in the Y’s many youth programs, including Y’s Beginnings Preschool, After School Child Care, Dance School, Teen Mentoring, and Youth and Government Club.
Chuck Maze, President/CEO of the Rockland County YMCA, was heartened by the event’s turnout and paid tribute to the honorees and contributors. “This was our largest attendance at Night of MAGIC thanks to our outstanding honorees Jim and Eleanor Kane, Howard Phillips, and Joe Rand and their family and friends who attended,” he said. “We appreciate the good work of our benefit committee and many generous people and local businesses who contributed to make this a successful event for so many children in our community.”
In his introduction for Kane, Max Jacobs, Vice Chair of the YMCA Board, referenced Abraham Lincoln’s oft-cited quotation: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Kane embodies that aphorism. After starring as a basketball player at the Y and for Nyack High School, he returned from a three-year hitch in the Navy to start a 44-year banking career in his hometown. Assisted by his wife of 59 years, Eleanor, he assigned Rockland officials to thousands of games in numerous sports from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. All three of their children – Kevin, James (Jimbo) and Kathy – were accomplished athletes at Nyack High School.
Phillips, the Haverstraw Town Supervisor the past 15 years and a County Legislator for six years prior to that, exuded pride in his family connection to the YMCA. His father, Howard “Red” Phillips, was youth president of the YMCA in Nyack. Phillips dedicated his award to his dad, a World War II veteran and Tappan Zee Bridge ironworker. “My father and his generation set the bar high for us, and I keep trying to reach it,” he said.
During his long career in public service, Phillips has initiated improvements at the town’s Bowline Park and Rotella Golf Course and was instrumental in creating the County of Rockland’s Haverstraw Bay Park. He served on the boards of the United Way and American Heart Association, and on the YMCA Golf Committee. The Town of Haverstraw, led by Phillips’ determined efforts, recently acquired 25 acres of land next to Helen Hayes Hospital targeted for use as a town park for recreational and sports activities. He resides in Garnerville with his wife, Arlette, and children Veronica, Thomas and William.
Rand serves as Vice Chair for both the Rockland Community College Board of Trustees and United Hospice of Rockland, and has been a staunch supporter of the YMCA’s Taste of Nyack. The son of the late Nyack-based physician Joseph J. Rand and company founder Marsha Rand, Joe Rand joined the family real-estate business in 2002 after a successful career as an attorney and law professor. Rand Realty has been a leading corporate supporter of myriad local causes through the Rand Community Fund charitable foundation.
“Rockland County is made better by people like Jim and Eleanor Kane, Howard Phillips, Cliff Wood of RCC, Chuck Maze and the YMCA for the wonderful work they do, and many others,” said Rand, who lives in Nyack with his wife, Linie, and children Jake and Aurelia. “I want to thank the YMCA for making my job easier, and making my job possible.”
The YMCA serves more than 6,000 members and program participants who live and work throughout Rockland County. Y programs focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For more information on membership or programs please contact the Rockland County YMCA at 845-358-0245 or visit its website at www.rocklandymca.org.