‘Humble and kind’

Craig B. Priemer friends and family raise money for culinary scholarship

By Dr. James Bertsch
Posted 8/4/22

How do you change a life?  It’s a straightforward question with a straightforward answer.  You give a young person an opportunity. 

That’s exactly what 300 of the late …

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‘Humble and kind’

Craig B. Priemer friends and family raise money for culinary scholarship

Posted

How do you change a life?  It’s a straightforward question with a straightforward answer.  You give a young person an opportunity. 

That’s exactly what 300 of the late Craig B. Priemer’s friends and family did at Land’s End in Sayville on Monday, July 26.  On that evening, Craig’s birthday, Priemer’s loved ones organized and ran a charity dinner.  Proceeds are being donated as a scholarship to a student going to culinary school upon graduating from a technical education high school.  That’s how you change a life!

The golf outing to honor Priemer was moved from July 26 to Monday, Aug. 22, at the West Sayville Golf Course.  It’s fitting that someone so loved gets to have two parties!  You can support the Craig P. Priemer Foundation by donating to the culinary fund directly or by attending the golf outing, if you email us before the outing on Aug. 22:  mark.casaburi@aysstaff.com.

“Humble and Kind,” the title of Craig’s favorite song by Tim McGraw, was the theme of the night.  “Don’t expect a free ride from no one,” McGraw sings. 

“Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why.  Bitterness keeps you from flyin’.  Always stay humble and kind.” 

“Humble and Kind” was also Craig’s personal mantra, how he lived his life.  Shortly before he passed, Craig sat with his children (Craig, Hailey, Rene and Krissia) to make sure they understood and learned to live by those lyrics.

Priemer was a 30-year veteran of Flowerfield Celebrations, which is a Lovin’ Oven Company. It’s also the gold standard in the hospitality industry.  They paid for the costs of all the food served that evening.  Craig rose through the ranks to become their general manager.  He was known, loved, and respected by everyone in the industry. 

But being a big shot never changed Craig.  “You see him at work as a leader” his niece, Rebecca Priemer, explained in her emotional address that night.  “But who was he to us, our family?  Every time we got together; he was always smiling.  He was the center of our lives.  He was our father figure.  He was the best advice giver.  He was our rock.  He was our everything.” 

Craig walked the walk.  He truly was humble and kind. 

That essence could be traced back to his time at Cherry Avenue Elementary.  A Sayville graduate (Class of ‘85), Craig’s friends—many from childhood—rallied to make the night such a success.  J.P. Galaris (SHS Class of ‘89), no rookie to organizing fundraisers, recalled a meeting early in the planning phases.  Galaris said he usually has four to five volunteers at such meetings.  With wide eyes, Galaris recounted that 30 people showed up… to the first meeting!

His best friend since junior high, Mark Casaburi, recalled when he first met Craig.  Craig was sporting a Special-T T-shirt that said “Supreme Prem.”   Mark tapped him on the shoulder to ask, “What was up with that shirt?”  Talking about that awesome shirt marked the beginning of their 40-year friendship.  Local readers may recall getting your own cool, custom shirts at Special-T.

A large group of Casaburi’s and Craig Priemer’s class attended the dinner, including Casaburi’s partner in crime, his wife, Maureen.  Maureen is Sayville High School’s unofficial reunion maven, always helping alumni gather with their classmates.  Mark and Maureen and their business—At Your Service Catering (AYS), which has employed generations of Sayville youth—did a tremendous amount of work to make sure the program reflected the infectious warmth that made Craig so beloved.

Mark’s dad, Joseph Casaburi, who led the entire FDNY, stepped up to offer words about Craig, who was like a member of their family. Chief Casaburi recounted Craig’s achievement, using words like “smart” and “driven.” Yet, chief also cited a line from McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.”  He noted that Craig was never too busy to turn around to help someone behind him.

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you,” is how McGraw concludes the song.  “When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around.  And help the next one in line.  Always stay humble and kind.” 

Craig Priemer made an art out of living such a life.

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