Community marks contributions of the late Monika Andrews

By on July 29, 2012

by Kristina Gabalski

Former Brockport mayor Mary Ann Thorpe speaks to those gathered for the dedication of Monika W. Andrews Children’s Park Saturday, July 21.The sun shone brightly on Monika Andrews Day in Brockport, Saturday, July 21.

Family, friends and community members gathered for a series of events honoring Monika, who died last fall after battling a brain tumor.

The day began at 10 a.m. with a dedication ceremony at the newly named Monika W. Andrews Children’s Park at the corner of Holley and Utica Streets. Monika worked as a member of the Brockport Parks Committee to develop the playground which became the first handicapped accessible playground in Monroe County.

Former mayor Mary Ann Thorpe acted as mistress of ceremonies.

“I rarely drive by that I don’t see children playing here,” she said of the park. “Today we celebrate the many differences Monika Andrews made in our lives, particularly for children.”

The main room at the Monika W. Andrews Food Shelf located at St. Luke’s Church. The facility now allows for a client choice feature for provisions.Monika’s husband, Bill, a village trustee, said the playground illustrates Monika’s style of volunteer leadership, “which was one of her most admirable qualities,” he said.

Andrews said his wife spent much time researching handicapped-accessible playgrounds, play equipment and also worked to obtain grant money to help pay for the project.

“She devoted her whole life to serving the needy,” he said.

Brockport Mayor Connie Castaneda unveiled the name plaque for the park which is mounted on stone from Iroquois Rock Products.

At 10:16 a.m., Police Chief Daniel Varrenti shared a message broadcast over his police radio: that the park will now be dispatched as Monika Andrews Children’s Park for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, the Brockport Police Department and The College at Brockport Police Department.

At 11 a.m., the dedication of the Monika W. Andrews Food Shelf Main Room was held at the Brockport Ecumenical Food Shelf located at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The ceremonies were overseen by James Pray, president of the Food Shelf.

Brockport Mayor Connie Castaneda unveils plaque dedicating Monika W. Andrews Children’s Park Saturday, July 21. “Everyday is Monika Day,” Pray said, particularly at the Food Shelf, noting Monika’s work to establish the client-choice approach now utilized “where people can come in and shop for themselves.”

Pray said he recently talked with some of Monika’s grandchildren, who told him they plan to help out at the Food Shelf when they get older.

“Then her grandchildren took the change out of their pockets and put it in (a donation container),” Pray said.

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from clients,” he added about the new client choice set-up, after unveiling the plaque naming the room in honor of Monika.

Bill Andrews said his wife worked to establish the client centered approach at the Food Shelf’s former location in the basement of the parish house at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary but when it became clear that it would not work, “she went looking and St. Luke’s generously offered,” he said.

Brockport Parks Committee members enjoy a new swing in Monika W. Andrews Children’s Park donated by BISCO. Commitee Chair Andrea Perry said the swing is a great place for mothers watching their children, seniors and even teenagers. It is the latest addition to the park. L-R: Trustee Kent Blair, Village Board Liaison to the Parks Committee, Hanny Heyen, Sandi Henschel, Andrea Perry; standing: Anita Wicks, Pam Ketchum. Pray said the Food Shelf currently serves 150 families – a number that has doubled since the Food Shelf moved to St. Luke’s.

“We’re going to start our own fundraising opportunities,” he said.

Two events are planned for the fall: An Evening of Music on Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s with Emory Morris, baritone and Margaret Johnson, piano; and a 5K fun run/walk – Make a Difference Against Hunger – on The College at Brockport campus at 9 a.m. on October 27.

Monika Andrews Day continued Saturday afternoon with an interment ceremony at High Street Cemetery officiated by The Rev. Douglas Stewart at 2 p.m. and a Remembrance Gathering at 3 p.m. in the Blue Room, Edwards Hall, at The College at Brockport.


Members of Monika’s family, Bill in the center.