COVID-19

Winery owner donates $100K to aid Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital’s fight against coronavirus

The generous donations continue to come in for Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital.

The Greenport hospital announced Monday night it had received a $100,000 donation from Randy Frankel, a local winery owner who is also a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The donation is to Eastern Long Island Hospital’s COVID-19 Action Fund to aid the hospital in the fight against the coronavirus. The funds will be used toward increasing the hospital’s bed capacity by 50%, a mandate set in March by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for all New York hospitals. That includes capital, staffing and supplies, a hospital spokesperson said.

The New Jersey financier owns Shinn Estate Vineyards and last year he and his wife, Barbara, partnered with Kristen and Daniel Pennessi, owners of The Menhaden hotel in Greenport, to purchase Croteaux Vineyards in Southold.

“I bought Shinn Estate Vineyards the first day I was there; that’s how much I fell in love with the North Fork and the East End,” Mr. Frankel said in a press release.

Mr. Frankel was previously unfamiliar with the East End’s health care resources, he said, until a news article about the first positive case of COVID-19 on the North Fork caught his attention.

“Once I heard of the first COVID-19 case and then a few other cases, I realized this was going to inundate the health care system out there,” he said. “That’s when I realized that they were going to need my help.”

Mr. Frankel said he came across SBELIH’s website and was intrigued by the hospital’s unique history and its location in a community “he has grown to love.”

Paul Connor, the hospital’s chief administrative officer, said they are “proud to call Mr. Frankel a member of our community.”

“As the community knows, our patients are often our neighbors, our friends, our family members — it’s personal,” he said. “We can’t thank him enough for this contribution that will provide tremendous support for our hospital.”

Mr. Frankel said the COVID-19 outbreak on the North Fork became personal to him. He said he’s met many people here who have made a difference in his life and wished to do something to give back.

“When I hear what the nurses and front line doctors have to endure risking their lives and their families, I don’t know how they have the strength to get up daily and go right back in again,” he said. “I just felt like there was something I had to do to help put them in a better position to cope with this.”

Mr. Frankel is also aiding Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City by donating 1,000 bottles of wine to their front line staff so they “can grab a bottle of wine, go home, have something to drink and just relax.”

Mr. Frankel worked on Wall Street for many years and experienced the tragedy of Sept. 11 firsthand; he retired shortly afterward. In 2004, he and his partners purchased the Rays. He and his wife run the Randy and Barbara Frankel Foundation, which supports education for students at two different New Jersey academic institutions. They are also involved with Homeless Solutions of Morristown, N.J. and Camp Happy Times, which was founded by Mr. Frankel’s father.

SBELIH has received several other notable donations in the past week. ELIH Foundation board members Peter and Erica Harold have donated a GeneXpert diagnostic system — which has been adapted to rapidly test for COVID-19. Last week SBELIH announced Shari Hymes, a respiratory therapist, purchased a $10,000 High Velocity Nasal Insufflation system, a mask-free treatment that can be used on some COVID-19 patients who are having difficulty breathing.

For more information about how to aid SBELIH and the Eastern Long Hospital Foundation, call 631-477-5164 or email [email protected].