Amidst a bevy of hospital staff, family, friends and reporters eagerly awaiting his arrival, North Shore University Hospital volunteer Arthur Seidman entered the room like a conquering hero.
The special occasion, more than a century in the making, was the celebration of Mr. Seidman’s 102md birthday. A Northwell Health volunteer since 1995, Mr. Seidman spends at least six hours a week assisting patients and their families in the surgical waiting room at North Shore University Hospital. He also provides comforts to patients at Northwell’s Monter Cancer Center and serves on North Shore’s auxiliary board (as chairman for the Tribute Fund and the Car Raffle).
Special invited guests were his daughter, Jane Krakauer, and granddaughter, Kim. Kicking off the festivities was Lisa Breiman, director of volunteer services at North Shore, who presented the guest of honor with an oversized birthday card, balloons, and a cake to be enjoyed by Mr. Seidman’s many friends in attendance.
“I’m pleased to announce that Arthur holds the record for time served as a volunteer,” said Ms. Breiman. “After 23 years with us, Arthur has logged in over 15,500 hours of service. He is the epitome of what a volunteer should be.”
The highlight of the event was the surprise appearance of entertainer Brian Bergdoll, of Broadway Singing Telegrams, who – dressed in a tuxedo and jaunty hat – performed a medley of hits in character as Mr. Seidman’s idol, Frank Sinatra. After applauding vigorously to “Sinatra’s” performance of “My Way,” and “Young at Heart,” Mr. Seidman smiled at the much younger entertainer and said, “You know, you’re pretty good.”
The dashing Mr. Seidman is a World War II veteran who was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for distinguished service in the Philippines under General McArthur. His commitment to the health system is legendary; recently, during a difficult snow storm, when en route to the hospital from his home in Great Neck, Mr. Seidman offered a ride to a much younger volunteer who required assistance to get to his volunteer post.
A very emotional Mr. Seidman described his feelings about turning 102.
“I’ve lived a very eventful life,” he said, “and I’ve always tried to be as good as I could be. For me, coming to the hospital and working with other people who are really in need is a reason for me to get up in the morning. This is a labor of love…I love being here. I hope they’ll let me come back for as long as I can.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. Seidman said goodbye to his daughter Jane and her family, and his loving companion, Alice. It was time to leave…he had to get back to his work on the floor.
To learn more about volunteering at North Shore University Hospital, please call the Volunteer Department at 516-562-4947.