Rotary, Claudio’s slate dinner to raise funds for Harry Lewis house project in Greenport

04/07/2012 8:43 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO | Rallying to raise funds to help modify Harry Lewis's Greenport house are, from left, Lisa Israel of Richmond Realty; Eileen Solomon, president of the Greenport Rotary Club; Jerry Tuthill of Claudio's Restaurant; Robin Walden of Staples Monuments; Craig Richter of R&R Builders; Beatsie Tuthill of Claudio's; Joe Cherepowich of McMann Price Insurance Agency; and Kathy Claudio-Wyse, Jan and Bill Claudio of Claudio's.

The Greenport Rotary Club and Claudio’s Restaurant will hold the second annual Locals for Locals Spaghetti Dinner on Tuesday, April 17 to raise funds for The Harry Project to help Greenport resident Harry V. Lewis Jr.

Dinner seatings will begin at noon and continue through the day to 8 p.m.

Harry was born with cerebral palsy. His house needs modifications to make it easier for him to manage living there on his own. The Harry Project will bring community members and businesses together to get the work done.

When the Rotarians first met him, they were impressed with his positive can-do attitude, his determination and his willingness to help others. A 1995 graduate of Suffolk County Community College, Harry has worked as a student aid in the Student Support Services Department at the Riverhead campus of the college. He relies on a wheel chair to get around but remains totally independent.

The Harry Project, which is sponsored by the Suffolk Community College Association, came to the attention of the Greenport Rotary Club through Gwendolyn Branch, assistant professor at Suffolk County Community College, Eastern Campus.  After both his parents died in 2009, Harry has been living alone in the house where he grew up in.  Even though the house needs considerable repair and modification for his physical disability, Harry makes the best of each day, according to Rotary Club members.  Because his wheelchair does not fit though the doorway, Harry has to drag himself into the bathroom. Cooking is also a challenge because the kitchen counters are not at his level.

With the backing of the Greenport Rotary Club, independent contractor and Rotarian Craig Richter visited Harry during the holiday season in December to replace a broken door to keep out the wind and cold.  Harry responded to this effort with a heartfelt note. “I would like to thank all involved with getting me a new door for Christmas. Your generosity of spirit truly touches my heart. Thank you for caring enough to do this.”

The Greenport Rotary Club is now taking this project a step further by dedicating this year’s “Locals for Locals” dinner to Harry. The Harry Project is working with local architects, contractors and suppliers — who are donating as much of their services as possible — to do more modifications and improvements at Harry’s house. Greenport Rotary members will help with whatever labor they can provide.

“For a guy faced with the challenges he has, his attitude is unbelievably good,” commented Craig Richter, who replaced the broken door to his house with financial help from the Rotary Club. “We really need to help this guy.”

“Claudio’s  Restaurant is a great venue for a great cause,” said Eileen Solomon, Greenport Rotary Club president. “I hope the whole community will come out and join us as we put our resources together to create a safe environment for Harry.” All funds raised will be used to support The Harry Project.

“It’s important to us to be involved on a personal level” added Ms. Solomon. “Rotary members will be cooking, busing tables and dishing up the meals. We are asking the public’s support for our friend and neighbor Harry.”

Tickets for the event are $18, $12 for seniors and children under 12. The full course dinner includes salad and dessert. Seating begins at 12 noon and continues throughout the day until closing time at approximately 8 p.m. Take out is also available.

For tickets, contact Robin Walden, (631)987-5264; Craig Richter, (516)443-6005 or Gwen Branch (631)548-2520 or visit for more information.