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Remembering Don’s Legacy

This week, we remember the legacy of Donald Rourke, a 4-term AmeriCorps member who continued to volunteer with SBP- NY even after he maxed out his AmeriCorps service terms. He was an Army veteran, musician, and a genuinely unique character who is described by those who knew him as “a quintessential New Yorker, with an opinion about everything and an unwavering dedication to the people of Rockaway.”

Throughout his many years of volunteering, Don helped bring over 400 families and individuals back to their homes in Queens and Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy, all the meanwhile building countless friendships with Americorps volunteers, clients, partners, and staff along the way. His passion for the common good was unyielding, and he kept it no secret. He’d often share his outrage of contractor fraud over one of his loosely rolled cigarettes and bodega coffees. But he was also generous, buying his friends and volunteers candy bars and hot chocolate while they waited for the bus in the cold. The passion that Don embodied well represents the spirit of SBP. It's the shared love of the communities we serve, our clients, and the belief our neighbors should not live in a state of prolonged recovery that binds SBP together, making our mission possible. Like Don always said, “it’s not necessarily the food, but the company.”

When he could have spent his golden years playing guitar at open mic nights and eating delicious “vittles” with his friends on the boardwalk, he instead dedicated himself to teaching volunteers how to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy. His selflessness did not go unnoticed, and for that reason, he will be remembered for the impact he made on his fellow human beings. If you’re interested in learning more about Don, watch this heartfelt graduation video that the SBP - New York Team made to celebrate the completion of his AmeriCorps service.