On Saturday, April 11, the George and Rebecca Barnes Foundation had its fundraiser, Dancing with Our Stars, at the OnCenter in Syracuse, New York. I was announced and introduced as the President of the Board for the nonprofit, and I introduced a video that we collaborated with Solon Quinn. The video is featured at the bottom of this post.
I prepared to say a few words, but I was asked — in the moment — to simply thank everyone for attending, thank Arlene Stewart for putting the event on, and introduce the video. I’m in no way bitter about not speaking for very long; However, I had a couple minutes of material that I prepared for. This is along the lines of what I wanted to say:
Let’s begin with a quick anecdote:
In 2009, I ventured off to Italy for a nine-day trip, and during that trip the experiences were nothing short of priceless. One particular aspect caught my attention. There were several moments where we, my cousin and I, were walking and gaping holes were found in the ground.
The confused expression on my face, I guess, said a lot.
In Brescia, to be specific, Adriano told me that the transportation system was being improved. However, when the ground is being dug up to prepare for the renovations, ruins were found. When ruins are found, they are not touched or moved or destroyed. The cities find ways to work around them.
Well, it’s good to know that another quality that cities in Italy share, aside the name Syracuse, is issues with its transportation system.
The fact is that European history — aside the actual land, but considering the actual length of — is richer than our domestic history. We can knock down our thruway, because it has reached the point of deemed expiration, and it’s not as “classic” as the now dissolved Erie Canal.
And dismantle is a scary word; deconstruct is another one. When an area in the United States cannot find a use for something, the “easiest” approach is to knock it down and build instead of work with the beautiful shell that has been given to them. In the structure’s place, a sign is put up to mark history. And that’s that.
The Barnes Hiscock Mansion was built in 1853. George and Rebecca Barnes were very proactive and progressive philanthropists who looked out for the greater good of humanity, particularly participating and propelling the abolitionist movement.
The mansion’s doors are now open to you. Like the Barnes family, we want to be proactive and participate in our community. With Dick Benedetto, we’re installing GourMelt, a cafe and gourmet/specialty grilled cheese eatery. We’re planning on revamping the rooms and increase giving tours. We’ll hold your wedding, shower, birthday party, and we’ll house interactive plays. The Covey Theatre Company performed “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” last year.
It’s important as community members to come together and support the cause, to support and keep the history of Syracuse alive.
Thank you to Arlene Stewart for putting on this fundraiser for the sixth season. Thank you to our sponsors. Than you all for coming, attending, and supporting.
Thank you to Solon Quinn for collaborating and putting together this video that we will reveal for the first time tonight.