Dobbs Ferry's Tony Losee says that he volunteers at a soup kitchen in the Bronx almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving, "Because I'm very fortunate to have what I have in life. A lot of people have it worse than me."
Though only 57, Losee is behind the scenes at virtually every Dobbs Ferry seniors' event—both spearheading festivities like the annual senior week and helping seniors apply for tax exemptions, Medicaid and food stamps.
"I think I've connected with the seniors because they're local; they grew up in the village like I did."
Losee came to Dobbs Ferry from Ossining when he was 9—a foster child in a family with four biological children and two other foster children. He was the only foster child whom they eventually adopted. "They treated me as one of their own."
Losee said his life pre-Dobbs Ferry was very different. "I lived with my father, who was verbally abusive, nasty and a drunk."
Since then Losee's never lived or worked far from Dobbs Ferry. He found a job as a controller at what was formerly Basys Automation in Yonkers.
But in 1986, Losee fell backwards off a 20-foot ladder, dislodging his pelvic bone. He could no longer work and needed to go on disability.
Soon after, Losee began what would become a long fight to remain living in his Beacon Hill apartment.
"I had heard about state programs to freeze rent increases for people on disability," Losee said. But in order for him to receive the benefits, the village had to vote to enroll in the program.
"I first pursued the program for personal reasons and then realized that by adopting SCRIE—[a similar tax exemption program for senior citizens]—as well we could save local seniors a lot of money," Losee explained.
Without Losee's fight six years ago to have SCRIE adopted in Dobbs Ferry, many seniors would have been overburdened
"I didn't start out seeking these programs for seniors," he said. "But I just kind of fell into it."
Asked how he manages to stay so positive and selfless, Losee smiled.
"Recently I was in the hospital, and guess what?—Almost every one of these seniors came to visit me," he said. "Then, when I got home, they were there every day bringing meals and keeping me company. That's what makes it all worth it."