SOUTH FALLSBURG, NY (October 19, 2015) – The SYDA Foundation has announced that Gary Siegel of Liberty, has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 SYDA Foundation Community Service Award. The prestigious award includes a certificate of merit for outstanding service to the local community and a monetary gift of $5,000.
The SYDA Foundation Community Service Award will be presented to Mr. Siegel on Thursday, November 19, at 2:00 p.m., at the monthly meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature, at the Government Center in Monticello. The public is warmly invited to attend the presentation.
Since 1986, the SYDA Foundation has sponsored this annual award — one of Sullivan County’s highest distinctions — to recognize and honor local citizens for outstanding community service. A committee of past SYDA Foundation Community Service Award recipients and local civic leaders selected Gary Siegel to receive this year’s award. Gary was selected in recognition of his years of service educating and enriching the lives of the young people of Sullivan County as well as his leadership role in organizing and fundraising for many charitable projects that have had a local, national and global impact.
As a music educator for over 30 years in the Liberty Central School District, Gary mentored thousands of young people. He taught students musical skills, helped to build their self-esteem and instilled discipline, all qualities that help ensure their success as adults. During his tenure, Gary served as chair of Sullivan County Music Educators Association and New York State School Music Association Music Festivals. He organized more than a dozen Area, State and County festivals, engaging thousands of young people from the greater Hudson Valley.
Mr. Siegel has also been an outstanding leader in his community, with decades of service as an organizer and fundraiser for a wide variety of projects. Gary was a founding member of Liberty ALIVE, a precursor to Sullivan Renaissance, a beautification and community development program.
Currently, he is Co-chair of the WSUL/WVOS radio Heart-a-thon, which has raised thousands of dollars annually to benefit Catskill Regional Medical Center.
For the last five years, Siegel has served on a committee to organize a series of fundraising events sponsored by Thunder 102 radio to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He can often be seen at Bethel Woods selling fundraising cards, bowling in a bowl-a-thon, or swinging a club at the annual golf outing–all fundraising events that he helped organize and for which he built sponsorship and support.
As Co-chair of the Liberty Rotary Club Haiti Clean Water Project, Siegel raised funds for and participated in two of Archangel Airborne’s missions to Haiti to deliver water filtration systems to Haitian families. He is planning a third trip to Haiti in November 2015.
After retiring as a teacher in 2013, he started a tour company, CD Trips LLC, which organizes bus tours from Sullivan County and donates a portion of its proceeds to many of the charities that he supports. In 2014, CD Trips donated over $23,000 to local charitable organizations.
In 2013, Siegel created the Barry Foster Memorial Fund, which provides financial support for children to experience team sports and participate in field trips to visit special places such as Radio City Music Hall where they might not otherwise be able to go.
He has been married to his wife Judy for 30 years and is the father of two adult children, Georgia and Max.
The SYDA Foundation, located in the Town of Fallsburg since 1979, is a not-for-profit organization that makes Siddha Yoga meditation available to students around the world. The SYDA Foundation contributes to the Sullivan County community through regular monetary donations to the local volunteer fire departments, police, school district, and hospital, and through its philanthropic expression — PRASAD Children’s Dental Health Program.