All this led to another $50,000 being raised through a snowball effect which financed ambient lighting around the high school track and additional landscaping.
“People ask me how we’re doing all this and I tell them it’s because of Ernie DiBurro’s generosity,” says School Superintendent Jim Scully.
I remember once approaching Ernie to be a sponsor for our Armenian Youth Olympics. Besides putting an advertisement in the ad book, he opened the door to his bowling lanes and offered complimentary bowling.
When his son Teddy wrestled for Haverhill High and later coached the team, Ernie was a true advocate of the sport, helping the squad to secure its needs and encouraging others to pursue the sport.
Wrestling faced some difficult times in those days with numbers and worn facilities. The DiBurros took matters into their own hands and turned the sport into an arena of respectability.
All well and good certainly, but not enough, as Ernie continued with his humanitarian ways. Nothing was more near and dear to him than that Alzheimer’s Clinic he helped finance and administer next to the city’s hospital when it was the Hale.
It turned into a more significant role than his business. People with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s came here to live with dignity and get the treatment they rightfully deserved.
More than once, I saw Ernie walk through those doors and lend a compassionate hand to residents of the facility. I sat with him for one story after another, often with a tear in his eye and a dollar out of his wallet when the going got tough.
That’s when Ernie got tougher to keep the place solvent, keeping the staff mobile and secure, not to mention the infrastructure, which was always under bureaucratic scrutiny. The day it closed, you may well have stuck DiBurro into an abyss.