The Suffolk County Legislature has voted to permanently rename the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum Planetarium in honor of Charles and Helen Reichert of Fort Salonga.

The Reicherts, whose long-standing philanthropic contributions have made meaningful impacts across Suffolk County, entered into an agreement with the Vanderbilt Museum in 2013 and pledged to support the planetarium’s mission and programs through a 20-year donation worth approximately $1.7 million. The vote was taken at the December general meeting.

Legislator William “Doc” Spencer said, “I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Reicherts for a number of years and have seen firsthand how their giving has made a difference in Huntington.”

He continued, “Their continued generosity and willingness to provide resources to the community and important causes never ceases to amaze me. With Charlie and Helen’s support, the Museum and Planetarium will continue to thrive and provide thousands of students and visitors with access to the historical and astronomical wonders found right here in Centerport. This is a fitting tribute to a generous and humble family, which I am proud to support.”

Charles Reichert owns several IGA grocery stores. Through the years, he and his wife have donated more than $4 million to nonprofit, public institutions and health facilities from Huntington to Southold. These gifts include approximately $1.2 million to Huntington Hospital and $1 million to New York State for the betterment of Nissequogue River State Park.

Among many other projects, the couple also has donated funds to upgrade the Southold police communications dispatch center, purchased new uniforms for local public school sports teams, established a $6,000 annual scholarship for high school students, restored the Old Burying Ground in Southold and funded the reconstruction of the church steeple at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport.

Lance Reinheimer, former executive director of the Vanderbilt, said, “The Reicherts are deeply committed to preserve and improve the quality of life for all Long Islanders. They are shining lights in the community, deserving of this distinction for their widespread support of organizations throughout the county.”

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum is located at 180 Little Neck Road in Centerport. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

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