John: This is John Dowling from Model Citizens Magazine. I am here with Patricia Polenz who has been nominated as a Model Citizen for all you do for charity and all you do for your clients. Congratulations!
Patricia: Thank you, I am honored and humbled.
John: It’s very well deserved. I know this was a tough year for you, but you have rebounded. I think you are a social butterfly out in the community. I see you helping with raffles at charity events on Long Island, a lot of people know you. However, I don’t think they know about your business history. Can you share for a moment your career history and then we can get into your charitable work at the end of the interview, sound good?
Patricia: Sure. I think that a lot of people don’t know my first daughter was born with a genetic disorder. She was terminal from birth, it’s a very rare genetic disorder. Also, I was adopted, and unfortunately, both my parents died when I was young; my dad when I was 17 and my mom when I was 19. It was a brutal childhood.
John: That’s a lot to go through. I get it.
Patricia: I had five children, but Candace passed away when she was 10. I was very involved with Make A Wish Foundation because of Candace. I was also with her school, which was a special school for handicapped children. For example, one Christmas I had all the kids tell their teachers the one thing they really wanted for Christmas. Most of these children were from disadvantaged and economically challenged homes. So I took the list and I bought every child what they wanted for Christmas. I wrapped each one and brought it to the school. The principal was so taken back, but I said I didn’t want anyone to know who did this or where it came from. I wanted the kids to know that Santa came by.
John: That is beautiful. So that’s how you got involved with philanthropy?
Patricia: Yes, that is how I got involved in philanthropy, but then my daughter passed away. It was difficult for me to get back into Make A Wish. I had to step away because I knew what the parents were facing and so for many years Bill and I would contribute money here and there to different foundations, but then my husband got very sick with prostate cancer and bone cancer.
I actually got involved with charities again when I started my own business. I met Terrie Magro around the same time that I was working with Safe Harbor Inspections. We wanted to do something for a local charity, and I was introduced to Terrie. That’s how I got back into it. We did a New Year’s Eve Ball for the Michael Magro Foundation and we raised $18,000 that night. This is what started my involvement again and I got back into fundraising. These days I try to pick for charities a year to donate to.
John: I know you have done work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), Pink Tie, and also Equity First Foundation.
Patricia: Yes, I was graciously nominated to be a candidate for Woman of the Year 2020 for LLS, which I accepted and made a commitment to raise $1 million in 10 weeks. But at the same time, my husband fell ill again. I had done a fundraiser and we were able to raise $33,000. But a month later, June 4, 2019, my husband was diagnosed with **Mesothelioma in addition to bone and prostate cancers.
John: That’s terrible.
Patricia: From that moment on it was just a downward spiral
John: But now you are back, I’m hearing in your voice that you’re back.
Patricia: Yes, I’m definitely back.
John: What are you doing now.
Patricia: I started another company, a lead generation company, in June. It’s just starting to get going, but I would much rather tell you about my new role that I have now.
John: Yes, please.
Patricia: I have been hired to be the Head of Channel for the Real Estate Division for Ace Costello Hardware.
John: Congratulations! That sounds great. Tell us more about it.
Patricia: It’s a very exciting opportunity for anybody in the real estate industry because we’re developing a whole gifting program. Now, agents will be able to not only open an account for their client thank you gifts for events like the house closing, or welcome to the neighborhood baskets, but you also get additional discounts and earn additional rewards to use in the Ace Costello stores. We’ll be doing a lot of joint fundraisers which I’m really excited about. We will be joining the real estate industry and becoming much more community-based.
John: I know you are aware that this is the Gratitude issue and the election issue. Let’s start by telling our readers what you are grateful for?
Patricia: I’ve been very blessed to have four healthy children. I thank God for them every day. I’m grateful for the love that’s in my life between my children, my family, and my friends. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through these months, when my husband passed, without them.
John: Of course. Then COVID hit, so it’s definitely a tough year for you and your family. What are you looking to in the future?
Patricia: What’s ahead of me is amazing. Aside from having my own lead generation business, I have this opportunity to build this channel with Ace Costello Hardware, not only in New York State but throughout the United States. So, it’s a tremendous opportunity.
I also want to mention that I am looking forward to watching the Long Island community bounce back from this unbelievable pandemic. I love to see everybody helping each other. We’re all looking to help one another, to help restaurants, help each other get jobs, whatever it takes. I love seeing our communities come together. To me that’s the best thing that’s come out of this pandemic, is just watching us all getting together and saying, okay, we really have to help each other stand up and get back on our feet.
John: I’m curious as to who do you think it’s going to win the Presidential election. Not who you want to win, but who do you think will.
Patricia: I think it’s going to be Trump. It’s very hard because he’s crude and rude, he’s not polished, he’s not a politician, he’s a businessman from New York, but you can’t deny what he’s done with the economy. Look at the “V” shape and what’s happened. We went through the worst pandemic we could go through and we’re having stellar jobs come back. Stellar employment rates come back; the stock market has done very well considering what’s been going on. They can’t really knock him. He’s done a great job. Is his personality great? No, it’s not, but we can’t have someone who has been in office for 40 some odd years and really can’t produce any policy work that really worked.
John: So you believe a lot of people are saying, in regards to Biden, that it was “pay to play” in his political office?
Patricia: He’s absolutely “pay to play” He’s not a stupid man. Why do you think they do their LLC’s in Delaware? He’s the one who came up with that whole scheme, so people could be protected.
John: Was he was selling influence to China in your opinion.
Patricia: He was selling America to China. Who does that? You want this man to be your President?
John: The only legislation that I believe was big for Obama and Biden was a pre-existing condition coverage. I think that is a big deal and I give them credit for that.
Patricia: People think Obamacare was great, but it’s horrible. All of our insurance rates tripled.
John: My insurance tripled. All the co-pays, medicine, everything has gone up over $25,000 a year. It used to be less than half of that or a third of that.
Patricia: People forget that we were in a depression for eight years with Biden and Obama and you want that again?
John: No, no more recessions or great depressions for me thank you. That being said Patricia, thank you for all you do for charity, and all you’ve done for me. I’m very grateful. When I first started publishing again you were despite your tough times very generous with referrals, that I will never forget.
Patricia: Anytime I can help anyone, I’m happy to do so and you have an amazing magazine.
John: Thank you and I certainly hope to hear more about your progress in the future as well as again congratulating you on your nomination as a model citizen.