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Hometown Heroes From East Hills

Ruth Adler has volunteering in her blood.

Last week, Ruth, a longtime resident of East Hills, was awarded the Town of North Hempstead’s “Hometown Hero” designation. When The Roslyn News asked Edward, her husband of 63 years, how long she had been volunteering, he quipped, “since three hours after our marriage!”

All that work has especially gone appreciated by The Sid Jacobson JCC, where Ruth does much of her volunteering work and whose directors nominated her for the award. TNH officials agreed that Ruth’s volunteering was exemplary and she was given an award that she modestly took no credit for.

At the JCC, Ruth does volunteer work on two fronts. First, she is part of the JCC’s Knitzvah (knitting circle) that creates numerous items for various causes, including the Veterans Administration and the Interfaith Nutrition Network. In addition, Ruth is a special mentor to a local young woman who suffers from autism. In this program, Ruth visits with the young woman in an after-school program at the JCC.

“Ruth is a devoted, caring compassionate member of society,” declared the JCC official who nominated Ruth. “She is willing to help whenever she is needed. She opens her heart and her mind when visiting with the autistic participant every week, as well as devoting many hours to knitting for those in need.”

Ruth’s knitting projects include making hats for pre-school age children, plus for grade school students as well.

“So often we hear sad stories and bad stories. What makes our community strong is people who do things because they make our people feel good,” said TNH Clerk Leslie Gross at the ceremony where Ruth was given her citation.

The Adlers were surprised by both the honor and the nomination from the JCC.

“We like to stay under the radar,” Edward said. “We look askance at any kind of recognition.”

But it is a recognition well deserved. Ruth has been volunteering for her two programs for the past two years, but the couple has been active at the JCC since 1992 when Edward first became involved with the Gezunter’s, a club for male senior citizens. Ruth herself is a member of the Golden Girls, a similar club for senior women.

Ruth especially gets along with her autistic friend. Although such a task isn’t easy, Ruth, by now, knows her friend well, knowing when she is happy, when she is sad, and how to brighten her day.

“She’s a people person,” Edward said. “It [volunteering] is part of her makeup.”

The Adlers have lived in Roslyn since 1954, when they first lived in a garden apartment on Warner Avenue. In 1965, they purchased a home in East Hills. During their years in Roslyn, the couple raised their three children, all of whom attended local public schools. Edward was the proprietor of five stores in the New York area, all of which sold auto parts to various wholesalers and retailers. The stores were located in Queens Village, Elmont, Franklin Square, East Meadow, and Hempstead. But the Roslyn area is where the couple’s home is and where many of its residents have been grateful recipients of this unassuming couple’s countless works of charity.