Stone Keeps Grants Rolling In

Thursday, November 30, 2006

ExpressMart Manager Randy Stone recently presented RSCS Superintendent Bob Barraco with a $500 grant check from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program to support the school's technology program. The grant is part of an annual program made possible by funding from the Exxon Mobil Corporation.

He isn't the high school football or basketball athlete winning the game for his team. He's the coach who worked with that team daily to make them winners.

He isn't the senior who is planning to graduate and is preparing for college. He's the father who raised him. He isn't the employee who rings you up with a smile. He's the manager who trained her.

He isn't the man that writes out a check for $500 to the Richfield Springs Central School. He's the employee who knows the grant program available and follows up each year to make sure the application is made and received.

He's Randy Stone, father of two, manager of the Express Mart, the wizard behind the curtain, who makes sure everyone has what they need to be happy.

"I like people," he said with a shrug of his shoulders and a beaming smile lighting his face. "I like to get to know people. I like dealing with people." Getting to know people was easy for him, as he kept involved in his community over the years. Whether he was volunteering with the Richfield Springs Fire Department, or coaching any number of teams, Stone has been at his best when he is "doing." As a child, he moved to Richfield Springs with his parents, Bruce and Judie, his older brother, Jeff, and younger sister, Kelly. As a young boy, and then as a teen growing up, Stone remembers that life was good in Richfield Springs. Which is why he chose to raise his two sons, Todd and Chad, in the hometown he has lived in since he was eight years old. Sports were, and still are, a big part of Stone's life. In high school he played baseball, basketball and football. As an adult he coached modified basketball and currently serves as an assistant coach for the Richfield Springs varsity football team. When his boys were younger he was involved in the youth baseball league, serving as president, vice president and coach throughout the eight years he and his sons participated. Even today, he says, "I enjoy watching high school sports, no matter who is playing. I'll even go to Cooperstown, down to Doubleday Field to watch." On being a coach, Stone said, "I love being with the kids. It's fulfilling to watch them start especially at the modified level when they're not that good and see them progress throughout the season to become better athletes, better people." He's like that with his job, too. As manager of the Express Mart, Stone makes the effort daily to help Richfield Springs become a better place, and his employees become better employees. Each year he works with Exxon Mobile to present RSCS with a $500 grant to be used at their discretion. Being part of a small town means many of his customers are people he has known almost all of his life. Between these people and his regular customers, "it's really enjoyable working here. You get to know the people, they get to know you. A lot of the people I see I know from high school." In addition to being the manager since the store first opened in June 2001, he also serves as a training manager for other stores within the company. "I train them here and they go on," he said while talking about being manager, his third job since he graduated from college. "I love my job, it's very fulfilling, not a lot of stress unless someone calls in sick. The third shift is a problem, because then I've got to cover it. But I've got good people working with me." When not working or coaching, or even watching high school sports, Stone spends his time pursuing something many people only dream of doing rekindling an old flame. Now that his sons are older, they don't want to hang out with dad that much anymore, he said, laughing. This gives him more time to spend with a lost love, his first wife, Bee, who he divorced more than 20 years ago. After his father passed away in December, Stone said his ex-wife contacted him to offer her condolences. And they've been in each other's lives ever since. Life for Stone is a blending of the past and the future. Surrounded by people he has known most of his life, he is constantly striving to make life better for people as he plans and prepares for theirs and his own future. What does the future hold for him? Who's to say? But whatever it brings him, he will be moving forward with a smile. And chances are, he'll be making someone's life a bit easier and a bit brighter.

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