Josephine Forestano, a longtime Stony Brook Southampton Hospital volunteer, celebrated her 95th birthday on February 1. Affectionately known as Josie, she has been donating her time to the Southampton Hospital Foundation Thrift Shop since 2008. She comes in every Friday to greet customers and sort donations. Josie has also put forth her passion for knitting and crocheting to work by making baby hats that she regularly donates to the Hospital’s Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center. When Josie is not giving back to the Hospital, she volunteers at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton, as well as the food pantry at Human Resources of the Hamptons. Josie is a true definition of selflessness.
Josie grew up in New York City and was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants. She worked in a government ammunition factory for the military where she earned the nickname “Josie the Riveter.” Josie grew up during World War II and later married her husband Joseph. Afterwards, the couple moved out to Long Island and had three children: Michael, Nanette, and Richard. They eventually moved out to Southampton after Josie’s husband retired.
She began volunteering within the community when her husband lived at the Hampton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. Josie would visit her husband every day and help out with other residents there. When he passed away in 2006, Josie decided it would be a good use of her time to give back to others in need. She also began attending the Bridghampton Senior Center and is involved with activities there.
On Friday, January 19, a birthday celebration was held for Josie at the Southampton Hospital Foundation Thrift Shop. She was joined by Manager Robin Page, who is also the Hospital’s Director of Volunteer Services, and Steven Bernstein, Southampton Hospital Foundation President and the Hospital’s Chief Development Officer.
Josie’s secret to life is: “It’s love. All you need is love.”