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In Memory of Sharon Rivaldo


Throughout my years in public service and non-profit work I have met some truly incredible people, but few can measure up to Sharon Rivaldo. When I first met Sharon, I was working for the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. At the time, I oversaw the local office in Rochester, and Sharon was running for a State Assembly seat. I was immediately impressed by her commitment, dedication and work ethic. Although she did not get the seat in the assembly, she went on to make a great impact in others’ lives through her volunteer work and career. Sharon retired as a Lieutenant from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and was heavily involved in many local organizations like Italeo, Camp Good Days as well as the Annunciation Church senior group.

Sharon and her husband, Phil, became great friends of mine and were instrumental in the success of Camp Good Days. In the first few years of Camp Good Days, everyone involved was a volunteer, as we had no paid employees. This meant that we were always looking for more help. We had some great volunteers who did everything from fundraising, organizing programing and even coming down to Camp and working hands-on with the Campers. As we were preparing for camp, a younger male volunteer called me to let me know he was unable to attend due to a minor automobile accident. When Sharon heard of this issue she suggested that I write a letter to Xerox, Phil’s place of employment, to ask if he would be able to take the time to volunteer that summer. They allowed the time off and Phil came to volunteer at Camp that summer. Because of his passion for fishing, his main responsibility for the summer was to teach the campers how to fish. With many of our Campers spending so much of their time in bed or at a hospital, few of them had ever had the opportunity to fish on a lake before, and they loved it! The Campers soon nicknamed him Captain Phil, as he will forever be called at Camp.

While Phil was off reeling in fish with the Campers, Sharon helped wherever she could, whether that was serving the Campers lunch in our dining hall, or in the Arts & Crafts cabin. And as Camp Good Days grew, Sharon and Phil remained, helping in any way they could. They were both always looking for ways to help in our community and were always there for me when I needed them. They both became vital members of the Camp Good Days family, and I am not sure that I would have been able to build such a successful organization at the time without them.

Over the past three years life has been difficult for Sharon and Phil. But even then, she was always just a call away, ready to help in any way she could. All the time I knew her, if she knew that anyone was struggling, she would step right in to help, you never even needed to ask. Both her and Phil were always there for those that needed it. Sharon was truly a beautiful person inside and out. Her passing will leave an impossible void in not only our organization here at Camp Good Days but also in the community. I will be forever grateful for having Sharon Rivaldo in my life.