Just call her the ‘money honey’
Rose Ventiere of East Patchogue started folding the pizza boxes her family used at Donato’s Restaurant on South Country Road when she was 10. “I was a waitress, cook and bookkeeper,” she recalled. She graduated from Patchogue-Medford’s Saxton Street School when it was the high school. “Right from school, we had to get on the bus and go to the business,” Ventiere said, who was the oldest of six children.
Her father, Dominick, would guide her in the intricacies of bookkeeping in his office, a skill that has stayed with her to this day. She has served as treasurer of South Country Youth Soccer for 30 years as well as a board member. She was treasurer of the Hagerman Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary as well and was president. “I’m very particular when it comes to money,” she said. “If it’s for a specific area, say, registration, you keep it separate and never mix it with something else. I count it and have two others count it and it’s recorded. All the deposits are marked. You can look at my books from 10 years ago and know exactly what is recorded.”
Ventiere, 61, who lives around the corner from the old Donato’s, now called The Peppercorn Cafe, is the Long Island Advance Woman of the Year.
The Patchogue Council Columbiettes No. 725, the women’s arm of the Knights of Columbus, honored her in December for her role as president. By the way, she made vanilla cakes in the shape of a football field as a fundraising lure to raise money for St. Joseph the Worker R.C. Church last week in honor of the Super Bowl. Her friend, Stephanie Dougherty, decorated them. (She already has an order for two chocolate fields for next year.)
The Columbiettes run fundraisers to aid local charities, in particular, local church outreach programs as well as the Ursuline Sisters and the Sunrise Fund.
“She takes on monumental tasks and completes them,” wrote Joann Brandi, who nominated Ventiere.
One thing she is adamant about, though. Her volunteer work is aided by others.
She had a stroke in 2000, attended therapy for years to strengthen herself; her right hand and arm were affected and she walks with a limp. But she found ways to continue her efforts. Ventiere just does it differently.
“I’m the organizer,” she said. “I organize and my committees do it. Now we’re working on a Victorian Tea and Chinese Auction,” she said of the Columbiettes. These girls really bust their humps. They all work together for a great cause and when people laud me, I always say I cannot do it without the support of those who work with me.”
That is the case, we’re sure. But someone has to lead the way. Maria Mahoney, a life member of the Hagerman Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, was asked to comment about her friend. Ventiere joined when her husband, Jerry, became a Hagerman firefighter. “She deserves it more than anyone,” Mahoney said, who works with Ventiere on the ladies auxiliary and fundraising events for St. Joseph the Worker. “She just ran their Super Bowl cake sale,” she added.
“She has very limited range of motion with one hand due to the stroke and most people would back off. Instead, she’s running our giant fundraiser on Feb. 22, The Fifties Dance, and she cooks the sauce and meatballs from scratch. She even has it down to how many pounds of chopped meat she needs. She’s a true leader. Any other fundraiser at the firehouse, she’s the first one with her hand up. She’s always ready to run it.”
We can’t list all her involvements. Trust us, her efforts are prodigious.
Ventiere, the proud mother of two sons, Damon and Eric, and ecstatic grandmother to Olivia Marie, points to her husband Jerry, who helps her. She calls the women who support her, her angels. Her dog, Bella, the household’s official greeter, is her cheerful mascot. “I keep busy,” she said. “I’m determined.”
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