GAA Classic Car Show honors the legacy of an East Granby hero

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Granby Ambulance Association will hold its second classic car show at Mark’s Auto Parts in East Granby on June 23. All proceeds will benefit the Mary H. Hausmann Scholarship fund.

While the scholarship helps hard-working seniors in Granby, East Granby and East Hartland offset the costs of education-related expenses incurred through the pursuit of a degree in the medical field, it also honors the legacy of Mary Hausman, nurse, EMT and inspiring community volunteer.

According to Mary’s son, Jim Hausmann, nursing was a natural career path for his mother. “She was a very caring individual,” says Jim. “There was not a time when she wasn’t taking care of someone, either personally or professionally.”

After graduating from the St. Francis school of nursing and Boston College, Mary began her career with the Visiting Nurses Association, bringing compassion and strength to local residents. Her willingness to serve and support people, whether day or night, eventually led her into the late-night corridors of the Alcohol Drug Recovery Center in Hartford. “She was more than willing to take the late-night shift,” says Jim. “That was her shift. They used to call her Midnight Mary.”

Freedom from addiction is a long and arduous path, and at the ADRC, Midnight Mary did more than support afflicted individuals on the path toward recovery. She was the driving force behind it. Jim recalls the number of individuals who reached out to him and his family following Mary’s untimely passing in 2000. They attributed their success in conquering addiction to her care, dedication and consistent belief in their ability to achieve a life free of substance abuse.

Mary shared that same compassion with everyone she met, particularly in the town of East Granby, where she lived and served on several charity boards. Paul Oliva, established resident of the town, recalls how she came to be a founding member of the East Granby Ambulance Association.

According to Oliva, there was no ambulance service in East Granby prior to 1976. The town was dependent on neighboring Granby for emergency support. “One day, we lost a man,” said Oliva. “He had a heart attack and Granby was already out on a call, so they were unable to respond. As residents, we knew it was time to do something.” Mary Hausmann was one of the first to join Oliva in establishing the East Granby Ambulance Association. Oliva is appropriately proud when he discusses the early days. “We had 15 people attend our very first EMT class,” he said. “And we went on to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with three EMTs on every run.”

As the town’s population continued to climb, East Granby Ambulance Association merged with Granby’s service in 2013. It was a poignant decision that Mary would have approved as the merger upgraded service for town residents to advanced life support via paramedic service.

Granby Ambulance Association is proud to continue the Mary H. Hausmann Scholarship. Each year the organization rallies community members and local businesses to support area graduates by donating to the fund, either independently or through charity events.

The GAA Classic Car Show, generously supported by Mark’s Auto Parts in East Granby, provides major support for the fund.

“Each year, we plan to change things up a little based on what we learned the year before,” said Lorri DiBattisto, president of the Granby Ambulance Association. The 2018 event sees more family-friendly additions, such as a bounce house, and more sponsorship opportunities for area businesses who wish to contribute.

“Support of the scholarship by local businesses has been tremendous,” says DiBattisto. “And now we just want to get the word out to the students that the funds are available.”

Granby, East Granby and East Hartland students, who will be entering a qualified post-secondary institution in the fall of 2018 and pursuing a degree in the medical or emergency services fields, should talk to their school guidance counselor about applying for the scholarship.

Auto enthusiasts from across New England are welcome to exhibit or attend the classic car show on June 23 with a rain date scheduled for June 30. A $10 entry fee will be collected from each exhibitor, and residents wishing to participate as a spectator will be charged $5 per car. All proceeds will benefit the scholarship fund, helping area youth follow in the exemplary footsteps of Mary H. Hausmann by pursuing a degree in the medical field.