Although John Pomerantz has owned a home in Harrison for about 30 years, the former CEO and current philanthropist only moved to town full-time three years ago, as his schedule in New York City began to allow more time in the suberbs.
Most retirees who move to the area choose to simply spend time with family, live rather inclusive lives and keep mostly to themselves.
Fortunately for Harrison, that's not John Pomerantz.
The former CEO of clothing line Leslie Fay, Pomerantz, now 78, continues to work with a number of charities—he sits on the boards of seven of them—along with his wife Laura, who also sits on numerous charity boards. He will serve as chairman of a fundraiser for City Meals on Wheels this summer and even makes personal deliveries for the organization.
But soon after he moved into town, Pomerantz's generosity began to spread to Harrison's local charities.
His involvement began while working with Katherine Frankel on the in 2010. While gathering donations that December, he heard for the first time that 100 families in Harrison couldn't afford presents for their kids.
"That really shocked me," he said. "I heard people needed help and if I could help them, I try to help them."
It was especially surprising in a town like Harrison, Pomerantz said, where one wouldn't expect the number of families in need to reach triple digits.
"It's supposedly an affluent town," he said. "A lot of people lost their jobs."
Since that holiday season, Pomerantz has used his connections for the good of local folks in need. The soft-spoken man has been a key contributor to a number of Harrison events and charities. He sought out Harrison Director of Community Services Nina Marraccini and offered to help. He has been there for the food pantry ever since every time supplies are low.
"He's an angel," Marraccini said. "I don't know what I could say to do him justice."
One Thanksgiving Pomerantz helped put 100 turkeys on the dinner tables of Harrison families. All of this without hope of recognition or notice. He avoids the spotlight, makes his personal donations anonymously and plainly talks about his contributions as if it's something he is supposed to do.
"Whenever they'll call me I try to do something, I'll do it quietly," he said. "It's the right thing to do, if I can do it, I do it."
These acts are done for the right reasons. Pomerantz has worked with mostly behind-the-scenes aspects of these projects. He rarely makes food or clothing deliveries himself, and is happy to just do what he can to help.
"I heard people needed help," he said. "I'm just trying to help as much as I can, not make a big deal out of it, just if I can I'm going to help."
Pomerantz still does some consulting on the professional side, he said, but the majority of his time is spent working with his charities, golfing, or traveling with his wife. He said his life in Harrison is happy and that he'll do what he can to help the community.
"I love where I live," he said. "I've been up here for a lot of years... it's beautiful."
And what makes a town beautiful? People willing to help at a moment’s notice, who step in when no one is watching to assist people in need.
"He just stops in and asks if he can do anything," Marraccini said. "He's just a fabulous person."