The Rotary Club of White Plains is Club 5043, District 7230, Zone 32, Region USCB,
Federal tax ID 13-6111471.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1712, White Plains NY 10602.
Our "Foundation of the Rotary Club of White Plains" is tax exempt,
New York State #219346, tax ID 13-6165380.
Website created August 2001.
The Rotary Club of White Plains was chartered
October 1, 1919, charter number 540.
in motion: Brian Wallach
Brian Wallach walks the talk, along with cycling, swimming, skating
By Bob Rozycki
Brian Wallach is like a perpetual motion machine in human form. When he's not walking to work with his trusty pal. Big Jed at his, side or enjoying a mile walk around down town White Plains at lunchtime, depending on the day and season Wallach is either swimming or cycling or ice-skating or cross-country skiing. And then there's the projects with the White Plains Beautification Foundation as well as serving on a host of civic association boards.
Published: April 2011
And, of course, there's the day-to-day work at the insurance company he founded - Brian Wallach Agency Inc. - and served as president of until handing over the reins to son, 'Todd.
Wallach arrives for work at 9:30 each morning and "sticks it out till 5."
With such an overly active resume, there's no need to ask Wallach how he keeps his nearly 82-year-old body so trim. After 62 years in the insurance business - the oldest active licensed life insurance agent in the state - one would think Wallach would be slowing down, perhaps even - dare we say - retiring. But the "r" word isn't in' his vocabulary,
"Why put this all aside to sit around the house? As long as you have your health and if you have the opportunity to continue, then do it."
Wallach made an attempt at retiring in 1994, when he turned 65. He lasted two weeks before returning to his office.
"The key to longevity is not to stop working and not to continue just for remuneration, but to work for the community." And that he does through his memberships, especially the White Plains Beautification Foundation, which he helped found. His wife, Beth, whose virtues and beauty he can't stop extolling during a conversation in his office, is also a soul mate when it comes to all things flora; she hosts the public-access TV show "This Blooming City."
It was a whirlwind romance for the young Wallach and Beth Kakerbeck engaged in three weeks and married three months later.
After 51 years, there's no reason for Wallach to say it, but he does: "I married the right person." He adds, "My wife - she is so gorgeous."
But with a pretty face comes the inevitable "but," as in "She's not easy on me. I have to do the dishes." (See sidebar on his other duties.) •
In his office at 1 N. Broadway, a client enters the front door and Wallach recognizes the woman by her voice. Wallach lost his sight at the age of 25. Detached retinas were not an easy fix back in 1954. The doctors tried, he said. "They did what they knew. They tried to weld them back on." But heat on the delicate eye tissue would not be the way to restore his sight.
Jed, who lies on the floor of the office, watchful of his master's every move, is Wallach's seventh guide dog. All but one - a yellow Lab - have been German shepherds. The dogs come from The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J., the oldest guide dog school in the world. Jed, "a hard worker," has been with Wallach for a little over two years.
Walking from his home with Jed is no problem for Wallach. But crossing some major streets in White Plains without signals was a problem in the past. Back in the early 1970s, Wallach had an idea to make crossing the streets a bit safer. He called a friend, Leonard Greene of Safe Flight Instrument Corp. at the Westchester County Airport. Greene had invented the Stall Warning Device that sounds in the cockpit of an aircraft when it is in imminent danger of stalling.
"He knew all about bells and horns," Wallach said.
He asked, "Can you design a system so I know when traffic lights change?"
For an inventor with some 200 patents to his credit, Greene replied, "I'll take care of it."
In 1976, Wallach said, the first audible crossing signal was installed at Hamilton and Church streets in downtown White Plains.
Wallach said he and Greene, who was a life member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, were good friends. So much so that Greene even let Wallach pilot his plane "and land it." Wallach said it was no big deal.
Upon his retirement, Safe Flight was to be turned over to Greene's son, Donald, a
pilot. But in a sad turn of events it would never happen. Donald was to go hiking in California, Wallach said. Little did Greene know that the plane to San Francisco that sunny September morning, United Airlines Flight 93, would be taken over by terrorists and eventually crash near Shanksville, Pa.
Wallach lost his friend Leonard Greene in November 2006.
Wallach still flies today, but with his wife and dog in the passenger section of planes.
As winter faded to spring, Wallach put away his ice skates. Cycling on a tandem bike with White Plains attorney David Eddy taking the front position now takes up his Sundays.
As far as prescription drugs, Wallach said he takes none.
"I take a vitamin and aspirin in the morning."
Another secret to a healthy life, "Veggies, veggies and veggies."
My life with Brian
By Beth Wallach
When asked to comment on "life with Brian" in 300 words, I wrote. 827 words, mostly about his Seeing Eye dogs. Dreading editing I started over.
Life with a blind husband is much like anyone else's. He takes out the garbage and recycling, washes the car, has been known to feed the cats, and makes a killer martini. I try to keep stumbling blocks (dog toys) off the stairs and devise ways of organizing his clothing, making sure his socks match. Worse than mismatched socks are mismatched shoes - one black and one brown. It's happened.
When socks and shoes match, we take wonderful vacations. Before Brian lost his sight at age 25, he traveled extensively with his family, and the travel bug stayed with him. We always took long summer vacations on Cape Cod with the children, as well as to Switzerland several times with them. Great adventures! We began our treks abroad when we were young enough to hike distances, explore countrysides of Switzerland and England, and meander through favorite cities rather than waiting until retirement (what retirement?). In recent years we've enjoyed cruises, as well as a decade of trips to magical Cuttyhunk Island.
We have a favorite inn in Grafton, Vt., that we've been visiting for 32 years. For the past 12 years we've also become regulars at wonderful Quisisana in western Maine.
I'm happy staying home playing Happy Homemaker, but this ageless husband is on a fast track. It's not enough to swim like a fish, ice skate, tandem bike in charity rides in Manhattan, and cross-country ski ... he must do EVERYTHING!
This handsome, generous man has enriched my life in unimaginable ways, and I am grateful for 51-plus years of marriage to Superman.
He's my all-time hero. I knew that from day one.