Tonawanda News

February 28, 2014

DeGraff looking to the future

Brick sale denotes hospital's 100th year

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The latest fundraising idea by the DeGraff Hospital Auxiliary hit MaryBeth Kupiec like a ton of bricks — pun intended — as the project is a commemorative brick sale.

Kupiec, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator and project organizer, explained that the brick sale will allow the auxiliary to pave the hospital’s memorial garden on the west side of the building.

“We’ll start with the walkway into the garden. The garden is off the parking lot and outside the cafeteria windows, so it will be seen inside and out by many, including staff, visitors and patients,” Kupiec said.

Kupiec explained that the auxiliary has a long tradition of providing for the community and fulfilling hospital requests for equipment and renovations.

“The commemorative brick sale not only demonstrates this commitment and history it also will help provide and build for the future,” she said.

The project is one of several events this year connected to DeGraff’s 100th year anniversary.

The theme for the fundraiser is “Commemorate the past, build a future, brick by brick.”

Cathy Feind, scheduling secretary at DeGraff and an auxiliary board member, is helping Kupiec with the project.

“I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person,” Feind smiled. “This is a unique event and my job will be to keep track of donors and do proof-reading to make sure the bricks are exactly as they are ordered. We hope the community will make its mark and be part of our history,” she added.

Each eight by four-inch clay brick is $75 and will have a personalized message written by the donor. There is room for three lines of text on each brick.

“This isn’t just for memorials,” Kupiec is quick to point out. “The brick can denote that the donor was born here or perhaps the family has ties to the hospital, businesses and organizations may purchase a brick or perhaps a donor would like a congratulatory message for a graduation or wedding. Whatever the donor chooses.”

A variety of options are available.

“The Auxiliary continues its tradition of providing for the community, DeGraff and the patients who utilize the services at the hospital,” Hank Cole, DeGraff’s senior director of hospital operations, said.

“The commemorative brick sale not only demonstrates this commitment and history it also will help provide and build for the future. We are excited to have such a visible tribute to the caring that has come through DeGraff over the years. The plan is for the bricks to be arranged in our special garden settings so both staff and visitors can reflect on their messages,” he added.

Kupiec said she received a great deal of help from Don and Nancy Holler who organized a similar project when raising funds for the skatepark in Tonawanda.

“Nancy is a volunteer (at DeGraff) and she and Don were so gracious in giving suggestions,” Kupiec explained.

When enough bricks have been donated and winter ends, the plant operations workers will lay the bricks.

“It’ll be a lot of work,” Kupiec said. “But most important now is getting the word out and having the community join us in this venture. All proceeds from the project will go to the auxiliary and to the hospital for whatever projects they would like to have done.”

And, Kupiec concluded with a smile, “I can hardly wait until spring.”

The bricks may be purchased at the hospital’s gift shop, where a sample is displayed, or by calling Kupiec at 690-2088 or email