Point of View: The Avatars

East Hampton will forever be in their debt

I’ve always thought that East Hampton would serve as a good model for what this country should be, a place in which people, despite their differences, cared for one another when you came down to it and cared for the naturally blessed place in which they lived, to wit, that here people could indeed live for a cause bigger than themselves, as the late Ben and Bonnie Krupinski did.

East Hampton will forever be in their debt, and its people, as I think they will, ought to honor the couple’s memory by not forgetting their example, however unmatchable when it comes to the scope of their good works it might be.

I didn’t know them really, though I’ve known Ben’s brother, Frank Ackley, a long time, and have always been drawn to his candid manner, which I imagine he shared with his brother, and have always admired his feisty can-do spirit.

So, I’m thinking I was wrong ever to have thought of Ben as merely an aggrandizer when, in fact, in him were mixed, in perhaps equal measure, the pride that attends self-made success and a concern for others. In that, he and Bonnie embodied what to my mind sets this place apart, what has made it such a great example for the country, which, I think, with the deaths of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr., lost its way.

Call it participatory democracy or a cooperative republic, what you will, it is the spirit of this place, and I couldn’t help but think, in reading all the tributes today, that the Krupinskis, who died in a plane crash heading home on June 2 with their pilot, Jon Dollard, and with their 22-year-old grandson, Will Maerov, are its avatars.