Mary Brummer, DVM
Mary Brummer got involved with ECRT not long after her retirement in 2017 from 33 fulfilling years as a small animal veterinarian in Orchard Park. She finally had time to pursue her varied and numerous interests, but she carefully considered where she wanted to commit her newfound free time.
Mary was aware that there was an effort underway to get the rail trail developed as a multi use recreational trail, but she could not find any news about the endeavor, so she approached the OP Recreation department, and discovered that a Rail Trail group was meeting every month in the basement of the Municipal building. Mary attended her first Board meeting there in January 2018 and she was impressed by the energy of that initial group of 10 people actively seeking ways to make the trail a reality. Everyone there had creative ideas, as well as the vision and attitude that they were going to “make this happen”, and Mary decided that she wanted to be a part of that.
One of the Board members organized an overnight trip to the Pine Creek Rail Trail near Coudersport, PA. Mary and then-president Anne Bergantz rode the trail for two and a half hours, talking about the organization and its history, and Anne really brought Mary “into the fold”. The group of 12 spent a day riding, visiting, eating and relaxing on the trail. Many small businesses had popped up along the trail’s path, especially in the village centers, and it made a huge impression upon her. The Pine Creek Rail Trail embodies for Mary what she envisions the ECRT Cattaraugus Rail Trail being someday.
Mary was asked to be the group’s secretary. She also worked on the group’s Governance Team with the intent to firm up the Board’s structure, define best practices, develop standard operating procedures for a land trust, avoid conflicts of interest, improve record-keeping, and set parameters for elections and term limits of Board members.
Mary grew up in Snyder, the “middle” daughter surrounded by five brothers. She attended Mount St. Joseph Academy and studied Biology at UB. No career path “lit her up” until she browsed through a catalog of careers in the school Guidance office and “Veterinarian” really appealed to her. She visited a veterinary hospital to learn more about the field, eventually working part-time at the Amherst Animal Hospital, where she learned to love the “small business family” way of operating. She graduated as a general veterinary practitioner from Cornell University, which is where she met her husband, David. David is more recently retired, too, from his career as a specialist in veterinary internal medicine. David and Mary have two grown children, and two grandchildren.
Mary loves to garden and has been in the Orchard Park Garden Club for many years. She learned the intricacies of being a flower show judge, going on to become President of the Judges Council. This was a huge commitment of time that required her to combine her creativity, science and horticultural skills as well as a fair bit of engineering to not only design floral pieces, but Floral Design workshops as well.
Active in her church for the past 30 years, she chairs the Worship team, with the goal of making services more creative and engaging. Mary played the flute during her school years but set it aside until an aunt’s passing, when she was encouraged to play the flute at her aunt’s funeral service. That special experience led her to resume taking lessons, and forming a flute quartet that plays in public several times a year. “A day that I can play just feels like it has more value,” Mary says.
Mary shares her husband’s goal to be always curious about the world, feeling that it is a life force that provides us opportunities to grow, create and explore until life’s end. She feels called to talk and work with community members and elected officials in order to forge the best way to get things done and move forward. She’s inspired to make it a reality to one day take her grandchildren for a bike ride on the trail in Orchard Park, and perhaps enjoy a “sculpture alley” or a “pollinator garden” along the way.