YORKTOWN, N.Y. When his teenage son tragically died due to complications from a rare form of dwarfism in 2003, Bruce Apar did not set out to become a role model in philanthropy. But a couple of kids at Yorktown Middle School petitioned the town to name a community baseball field, then-called Pinetree Field, after his son, Harrison. That proved to be a stepping stone that has since helped fund everything from athletic amenities to academic scholarships in the Yorktown area.
I felt that when [my wife Elyse and I] lost our son, we gained responsibility to help other people in his name, he said. Apar is now president of the Harrison Apar Field of Dreams Foundation, an organization benefiting local athletics, performing arts and other activities that Harrison enjoyed in his young life.
The installation of new scoreboards in the Yorktown High School and middle school gymnasiums, plus New York State-granted bleacher seating at two community fields, exemplify the kind of strides Apar has made.
Given those kinds of contributions, it should come as no surprise that Apar received a Citizen of the Year award from the Leo Club youth chapter of the Yorktown Lions Club. The foundation has also built relationships with the Yorktown Athletic Club and the Yorktown Teen Center, where Apar's team most recently donated computers to the after-school hangout's technology center.
Since Harrison was also a diligent student, academic and athletic scholarships are distributed each year to high school seniors through both the charity and the Athletic Club.
What we focus on is community organizations and is a reflection of own interests and things [Harrison] excelled in, said Apar.
Those who would like to contribute toward the Harrison Apar Foundation, take note: The 2011 Harrison Apar Yorktown Athletic Club Golf Classic will be held Oct. 10 at Mohansic Golf Course. For more information, visit the group's website.
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