The people in this village are amazing. They really are. While it’s easy to forget that fact in the midst of our harried and hurried lives in which we find ourselves rushing to get to work, avoiding the crowds or getting our children to focus on cleaning their rooms, there are people here who constantly remind us of the importance of community — especially during tough times.
No one embodies that sentiment better then Wendy Tarlow and Tommy Hand, two Sag Harbor natives who both know the struggles of cancer personally. Yet in the midst of their own battles, both have chosen to join the wider fight against cancer by actively participating in fundraising efforts like this weekend’s Swim Across America to raise money for all cancer sufferers.
In fact, Wendy, a.k.a. “Tornado Tarlow” and her team have become a fundraising force to be reckoned with in recent years and Tarlow’s personal ongoing dedication to the Swim Across America organization has been remarkable and unwavering. Her childhood friend, Tommy, who has given back as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, is part of Wendy’s fundraising swimming team now, and even flew up to Sag Harbor from Florida, where he now lives, so he can take part.
Hand notes how the support of community not only helps those suffering through tough times feel less alone, but it also goes a long way towards making a lasting impact on the lives of others. It’s a legacy that shouldn’t be underestimated — just look at how 12-year-old Katy Stewart, who died of cancer in late 2010 — still makes an impact in the form of the many fundraising efforts that continue in her name.
For Hand, this sort of community involvement through thick and thin is what Sag Harbor is, and has always been, about. On Sunday evening, a casual potluck barbecue on Long Beach will provide an opportunity for all of us to pause in our busy lives, stop by and say hello and thank you to Tommy and Wendy and all those folks who are doing their part. And while you’re there, drop a few bucks in the bucket to support their fundraising efforts.
After all, it’s the reliance on friends, family and neighbors that helps us get through everything. The ups, the downs … the good times, the bad … this thing we call life.