It’s beginning to look a lot like … Buffalo

Phil Rumore’s reputation as a hard-nosed, straight-talking, no-nonsense labor leader is well earned. The longtime president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation has had his share of run-ins with elected officials, school administrators and even some of his own union colleagues. He also has a long record of success on behalf of his members.

Rumore seems to wear his tough-guy reputation with pride. But, once the holiday season comes along, another side of Rumore emerges — a sentimental, generous side. For 16 years, Rumore has led the BFT in providing Thanksgiving Day dinners to approximately 3,000 Buffalo-area families. Last month, the BFT collected thousands of dollars in food and gift certificates that fed more than 200 needy families.

“This bounty of food was donated by Buffalo teachers and students who want to do their part to make sure families, who might otherwise go without, will enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal,” Rumore said. “This is a wonderful way for all of us to give thanks for what we have.”

Of course, NYSUT members are well known for their generosity — at the holiday season and year-round. Many locals and individual members go above-and-beyond to help their communities, as well as their union brothers and sisters. Their response to the need created by Hurricane Sandy earlier this fall is a significant and recent example of the innate sense of solidarity regularly exhibited by NYSUT members. Click here to help those still struggling from the Sandy devastation.

Meanwhile, Rumore’s holiday spirit doesn’t end when the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away. He is also a prolific author of holiday-themed short stories that feature teachers going the extra mile to help their students; a familiar theme for NYSUT activists, indeed.

Several years ago, New York Teacher — the predecessor of NYSUT United — ran Rumore’s “No Greater Gift.” Here is an updated version of the story.

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