A Local ‘Unsung’ Hero: Creola Solomon
| by Tess Wietzner | “To whom much is given, much is required,” proclaimed Reverend Dr. John H. Gilmore. “That’s the scripture that comes to mind when I think of Mrs. Solomon.”
Deaconess of Tarrytown’s New Hope Institutional Baptist Church, Mrs. Creola Solomon, 77, has devoted the last 54 years of her life to graciously serving her community. Named “Unsung Hero” by the Town of Greenburgh in 2013, Solomon is regarded by her clergy as a positive role model who “teaches by example, and is highly respected by the community,” continued Rev. Gilmore.
Solomon first moved to Tarrytown in March of 1959, and joined the church in June of 1961. She has been married to her husband, Wade Solomon Sr., for 55 years, and has six children, four grandchildren (one deceased) and seven great-grandchildren. “I don’t have an immediate family except for my husband and children here, so New Hope is my family,” she said proudly. “We are sisters and brothers.”
In supplement to her role as Deaconess, Solomon has also held the positions of President of The Pastor’s Aid, Chair of the Decorations Committee, member and Treasurer of the Mitchellaires Gospel Choir, member of the Senior Usher Board, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, and Manager of the Food Pantry.
She currently serves as President of the Senior Canteen, a program run from the Tarrytown Neighborhood House that functions as both a social outlet for local seniors and an educational resource for church members who choose to learn from Phelps’ physicians how to care for the elderly. Solomon is known for spending hours at local nursing homes and visiting the sick. She also participates in a program to check on seniors when they are absent from church. “We call and say, ‘I miss you’,” she explained.
To invest so much time and energy into the community, “feels good,” declared Solomon. “I get satisfaction out of doing what I do for others because there may be a time when I’m not around…That’s the way I was taught: you help others.”
Her humble, unwavering generosity reverberates strongly within the community. Still an active leader for the church’s food pantry, Solomon will often jump at the opportunity to provide for hungry individuals and families, some of whom may be living on the street or seeking help at the church after traveling many miles with small children.
Friend and former New Hope member Shirley Drassin observed, “Actions speak louder than words, and she does the action. A lot of people look at what she’s doing, and I think they often wonder sometimes, well how does she do all of this? It’s just that energy that she has, that she shows and gives to people. She’s just that kind of person.”
Over the course of more than half a century, Solomon has also recorded the birthdays and anniversaries of nearly all members of the church, who can expect a card from her every year. “We have well over a hundred members; that’s thousands of cards,” remarked Rev. Gilmore, who has been with New Hope since 1992.
“Whatever I do, I do it from my heart. If it’s not done out of love, I don’t do it. And that’s the only way you do it!” she said.
Like many across the nation, Solomon is deeply affected by the recent shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. She has a personal connection to the city in mourning through her pastor by whom she was baptized and has known for more than 23 years. Rev. Gilmore, who hails from Charleston, visited Sunday, June 28, to attend several funerals of the victims. Said Solomon,“You should feel safe in a house of worship. No one has the right to take that from you.”