By Donna Deedy
On a gray, mid-December day, Scott Posner wheeled four cardboard boxes into the gymnasium at St. James Elementary School, just as he has done annually for the last 13 years.
“Do you know what a hero is?” he said to the 106 third-graders sitting attentively on the gym floor. “It’s someone who makes a difference.”
Posner said the Rotary International’s one million members assist people in need. Some of the world’s neediest people, he added, often ask for schools. He then handed out to each child a copy of the dictionaries stacked inside his boxes, a gift from the Rotary Club of Smithtown. Feeling fortunate and inspired, the children filed back to class after leafing through their new book.
“Scott’s shown me how important it is to immerse yourself in giving back.”
— David Dircks
Posner, of St. James, is a financial planner. For the last 20 years, he’s worked for Edward Jones in its St. James office. The company encourages its advisers to be active community members. For Posner, that altruism comes naturally.
Posner founded and currently serves as president of the Deepwells Farm Historical Society. He’s also president of the St. James Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Rotary Club of Smithtown. Each year, he prepares and promotes events such as parades, street fairs, outdoor concerts, a haunted house, Christmas parties and a winter gala. He also raises funds for Angela’s House, a Hauppauge-based charity that provides assistance to medically fragile and terminally ill children and their families.
More than a decade ago, Deepwells Farm, a county-owned historic property on North Country Road in St. James, fell into disrepair. Posner took action.
“The place was left to rot, but Scott formed a foundation to save the structure,” said Howard Essenfeld, treasurer for Deepwells Farm Historical Society. The site serves as an important hub for community events.
For the last 11 years, acoustic musicians have performed for a live audience in the farm’s parlor. The recorded live broadcasts ultimately became the No. 1 acoustic music podcast on iTunes.
“I don’t mind fighting to get money for St. James and Deepwells, but I find myself working harder knowing that someone like Scott is keeping an eye on things”
— Rob Trotta
“Scott’s shown me how important it is to immerse yourself in giving back,” said David Dircks, the program producer. He credits Posner for getting permission from county officials to use the site as a music venue.
“I don’t mind fighting to get money for St. James and Deepwells, but I find myself working harder knowing that someone like Scott is keeping an eye on things,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga).
An East Northport native, Posner moved to St. James in 1995 with his wife, Debby Fiorella Posner. She attended the same elementary school where he now delivers dictionaries to third-graders. They have two daughters: Rebecca, a junior at SUNY Geneseo, and Julianna, a senior at Smithtown East High School.
After his wife was diagnosed and treated for cancer, Posner pedaled 532 miles from Manhattan to Niagara Falls with four comrades to raise $18,225 for the Roswell Park Cancer Center.
“I could not be more thankful for the incredible leaps in cancer treatment that directly benefited us,” he stated in a 2018 Facebook post. “Many people’s past contributions made those breakthroughs possible. Now it’s our time to fund research for the next generation of warriors that will face the challenge of cancer.”
His wife, Posner said, may participate in the seven-day Empire State Ride next summer.
“This is what Scott does,” said Laura Endres, president of the Rotary Club of Smithtown, a sponsor for Posner’s ride. “He’s just a wonderful human being.”