MIDDLETOWN — Residents of Braemar at Wallkill, one of the region’s newest assisted-living facilities, received a special treat on Thursday, August 6, a Zoom visit from former Mets pitcher and World Series Champion Dwight Gooden. The virtual visit which was part of the Mets Amazin’ Alumni Series was moderated by Jay Horwitz, Vice President of Alumni Public Relations and Team Historian for the New York Mets, and Erica Wells, Assistant, External Affairs and Community Engagement for the New York Mets.
Wells and Horwitz kicked off the Q&A session with Gooden, and then opened it up to the residents.
After a warm round of applause and cheers of “Let’s Go Mets,” residents eagerly got down to business, asking Gooden a wide variety of questions, including who his favorite catcher is (Gary Carter), how he feels about the new baseball rules; how he thinks COVID-19 will affect baseball; what his toughest out was; his favorite pitch; his experience winning the 1986 playoffs and World Series, and more. Residents were delighted by the opportunity to interact with the former All-Star, and Gooden more than happily obliged, sharing his personal thoughts, memories, standout moments, and even one of his favorite restaurants to frequent while on the road.
“What a privilege it is to meet you!” exclaimed one of the residents. “You are such a wonderful man, and humble, too.”
Gooden, who in addition to taking part in the Mets Amazin’ Alumni Series, previously donated his time to visiting pediatric cancer patients at Hackensack University Medical Center and visiting schools to provide children with direction and advice. He explained that his father had a saying that always inspired him to give back: “What good is having a life if you can’t impact another’s life.”
The virtual visit was a welcome surprise to the residents, who, due to new restrictions and guidelines during COVID-19, haven’t been able to see any family members or visitors in person.
“This has been absolutely wonderful,” said Maryann Crenny, Director of Operations for the FilBen Group, the organization that owns and manages Braemar Living. “I know it’s been very difficult for our residents over the last four months to have limited access to the outside world, so to have the Mets organization reach out to us and for Dwight Gooden to share his time with us, it is truly appreciated.”
“This opportunity has been amazing for our residents, and we’re so grateful to the Mets,” said Jennifer Hovnanian, Administrator of Braemar at Wallkill. “Having Dwight speak with us today has been a real rainbow.”
“Thank you for having me,” said Gooden. “You guys were always pulling for me and made my career what it was, so it’s my turn to return the favor, and I’m definitely pulling for you guys. You are not alone. I’m here with you.”
Braemar Living offers senior care by providing assisted living at an affordable price. Owned and managed by the FilBen Group. Braemar at Wallkill, the second property to open under the brand, welcomed its first residents in early 2015. To learn more, visit BraemarLiving.com.