In 2019, the Yonkers African American Heritage Committee suffered a GREAT LOSS, the passing of our beloved Vice President- Heather V. Burnett-Gainey; she was a member of YAAHC for OVER 30 YEARS! Not only was it a great loss to the organization, but it was also a great loss to the communities in Yonkers and New York City in which she served.
When you talk about a person with an 'indomitable will', that is what Heather had. A will to help and serve others; she served in various capacities throughout her life, while living in Yonkers for over 40 years. Her 'humanitarian' service started in Manhattan, where she helped with Medical Assistance and English classes for seniors and children at the Washington Heights Community Center.
In The City of Yonkers, she worked at the Nepperhan Community Center and in her position she taught 'Etiquette' classes to students and adults. She was also the Band Coordinator for the Nepperhan Marching Band and in this position she literally SAVED HUNDREDS of children, who were going down the wrong path in life!!
She also assisted residents with jobs in the 'Life Program' and helped with the 'Homeless Food Bank'. People in the community referred to her as 'Mrs. G', 'Mama G' (children/teens called her this) or Heather. Her sense of humor was comedic! There were many times Heather put herself in 'arms way' to prevent a tragedy from happening or gave calmness to a chaotic situation. When Heather saw something wrong or needed fixing, SHE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!
Not just through her words, but also through her ACTIONS by attending meetings with the Mayor of Yonkers, City Council Officials, holding positions in various organizations such as: HRCA, NCNW-HVS, etc. and being involved in community rallies and Town Hall meetings in order to make Yonkers a BETTER place for people in the communities to live in!!
She was a little lady with a BIG HEART; who gave 100% love, patience, activism, compassion and service to the people in The City of Yonkers.
She truly was a person who 'BROUGHT CALM TO A STORM'.