Then, He Painted Springbrook; Today, He’s Benefactor

HARTWICK ALUM FUNDS NURSE DEGREES

Then, He Painted Springbrook;

Today, He’s Benefactor

If we cement relationships by giving, not getting, Bob Spadaccia’s relationship with Springbrook began in the 1960s when, then a Hartwick College freshman, he and two other new Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brothers painted at the Upstate Home for Children three Saturdays in a row.

A couple of years later, while still at Hartwick, a deer jumped in front of his car.

“Any chance I can give it to the orphanage?” he asked the investigating trooper.

“Yeah, sure,” was the reply, and the youngsters at the Upstate Home, today greatly expanded into Springbrook, enjoyed stews, venison steaks and other goodies over the winter, thanks to Bob Spadaccia’s largesse.

Bob graduated from Hartwick in 1970, and went on to a successful insurance career, rising to CEO of Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services in Fairfield, Conn.

In the 1990s, he was recruited onto the Hartwick College Board of Trustees, and soon met Seth Haight, a Hartwick grad who had recently joined Springbrook as COO.

Now retiring, Spadaccia still remembers his Hartwick days fondly, and Oneonta. “I got to know a lot of people,” he said, “delivering sandwiches for Jet Subs and Jerry’s.”

Friends toast Bob Spadaccia, lower left, March 4, at Springbrook reception.

He was looking for charity. He’d created a scholarships – at Bard, where his younger daughter went, and Lafayette, where his son went.

His older daughter, Meredith, is a nurse practitioner at Mount Sinai in New York City, and a graduate of the University of Maryland and Columbia. “Neither Maryland or Columbia need your money,” she told her dad.

At that point, said Haight, “he asked me about Springbrook. He feels a tremendous connection to Oneonta. This was about maintaining that connection.”

Since 2012, when Springbrook collaborated with SUNY Oneonta on a joint master’s in social work programs, it’s expanding its training options, hoping to entice new employees and keep them there.

Haight proposed a similar program to Bob Spadaccia: to fund a new “Springbrook Scholars RN to BSN Scholarship Program,” so its nurses can stay on the job while getting a four-year degree.

With four nurses participating annually, the program would cost about $50,000 a year.

“While it is a financial gift, it comes from the heart,” the benefactor said at a March 4 reception in his honor – a virtual one, given the pandemic. “The work you folks do is amazing. The work you do is so meaningful. I’m delighted to do this and happy we could.”

“It was a total surprise,” he said of the evening, which honored both him and Meredith.

The nurses receiving the first scholarships – virtually – were Brooke Leech, Jessi LeVeille, Jessica Weston and Ruth Zinkievich.

Attending – virtually – to congratulate Spadaccia were friends from over the years, including Bob Hanft of Cooperstown, and Lisa Karlin and Ron Lynch of Oneonta. The Springbrook executive team and board members also attended.

Attendees had been sent “event care packages,” including a Springbrook-branded glass for a celebratory toast.

“This sort of thing pays it forward,” said Haight, “preparing someone to do something great now and in the future. And it’s a game-changer here.”

Said Bob Spadaccia, “I’ve taught my kids that you have to give back. I don’t want anything with my name on it. It’s a footprint in the sand for a second, then the next wave is going to come along and wipe it out. But that’s OK.”


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