Powell gave moving message at benefit for former Brockport hospital

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 November 2021 at 7:24 am

‘General Powell was a stellar, upstanding patriot. He cared very much for the youth of today. He will be sorely missed.’ – Cora Goyette

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Cora Goyette, a former resident of Albion, holds the program booklet for Lakeside Foundation’s 10th annual gala Dec. 4, 1998, at which General Colin Powell was guest speaker. Goyette reflects on his life after his recent death. Goyette spent 15 years as development director for the Lakeside Foundation.

Cora Goyette has had the privilege of meeting and socializing with many prominent individuals during her years as development director for the Lakeside Foundation in Brockport, but one guest who made an unforgettable impression on her was the late General Colin Powell.

Powell was a United States Army officer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first African-American Secretary of State. Powell died in October and his memorial service was televised a few weeks later – a service which brought back a lot of memories for Goyette.

She shared that Powell was born in Harlem in the Bronx. His family lived in a tenement, something which probably contributed to his founding America’s Promise Alliance, whose symbol is the little red wagon.

Powell explained the little red wagon was a symbol of America’s promise to our young people. He has been quoted as saying, “The most important part is the black handle that comes up. It is that black handle that allows an adult to reach down, pull the wagon along and make the way of life a little easier for a child who needs some help.”

At the Lakeside gala, Goyette said Powell talked about his life, the service and why he wouldn’t run for president.

“It was a very moving event,” she said.

Powell’s appearance drew the largest crowd in the history of the gala – 1,532 guests. It netted $120,000 for the hospital.

“General Powell was a stellar, upstanding patriot,” Goyette said. “He cared very much for the youth of today. He will be sorely missed.”

Goyette has also had the pleasure of meeting British Prime Minister John Major, Madeline Albright, Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, Walter Cronkite, President George H.W Bush, Jack Kemp, Muhammad Ali, Dan and Marilyn Quayle and General Norman Schwarzkopf.

In her position, Goyette had to make all the arrangements for the appearances of the high-profile guests, which included working with Scotland Yard and the Secret Service. There were always two fears, she said – that someone would try to shatter the event with a catastrophic act – and the weather.

Madeline Albright, who came from New York City, was so concerned about the weather, she took a train to Brockport. She also made a special request for Bovril and Heinz salad cream – two items which were not available in the United States. Goyette put out a request and three days later, a gentleman from Scotland Yard showed up with the items.

She explained that Bovril is a savory spread, which is popular in England.

“Heinz savory cream is quite unique, but I absolutely love it,” Goyette said. “You can now buy it in the International section of some Wegman’s, but it is $9 a bottle.”

Goyette said when General Schwarzkopf was the guest of honor, he wanted to split the head table, so he could walk through to talk to the audience.

She would spend 15 years at the Lakeside Foundation, during which time she organized 14 galas and 40 golf tournaments.

Goyette boasts of a very exciting childhood. She grew up in the South of England on the White Cliffs of Dover. Her home was between Heathrow and Gatwick airports, so she was very aware of airplanes. She said the Concord flew every Tuesday, leaving Heathrow at 11 a.m.

“I knew when it flew,” she said. “It had a very unique sound.”

When Goyette retired from the Lakeside Foundation, she returned to her native England for six months. Then she returned to Albion and went to work at Hospice.

“I was looking for a little job, answering phone or filing papers,” she said. “I didn’t want any stress.”

Then Hospice was embarking on a fund drive to raise money for a hospice residence.

“I became director of development and worked for six years to raise $2.3 million and we built the Martin-Linsin Hospice Residence.”

“Then I retired for the last time,” Goyette said. “I moved to Rochester because I have a daughter there, but I visit the Albion area often. I’ve met so many heroic people. I wonder what heroic stories will come out of this era?”