Lois Schaffer of Great Neck was honored by Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum on Monday, March 21, at the 18th Annual Trailblazers Awards Ceremony at the Nassau County Legislative Chamber in Mineola. As part of Women’s History Month, county legislators honor outstanding women who have “blazed trails” through the wonderful work they do in their communities.
Schaffer is an activist, dance-enthusiast, coordinator, administrator and grants writer for nonprofit organizations, who has devoted her energies to protecting human rights. Schaffer’s activism prompted her to participate in marches and rallies in support of the civil rights movement and to protest the war in Vietnam.
In 2008, Schaffer tragically lost her daughter, Susie, to gun violence when she was shot by teenage burglars in her St. Louis home. Schaffer had been actively working to reduce gun violence even before her daughter’s murder, but since the tragic event, her energies have been even more focused on this pressing issue in order to honor her daughter’s memory and prevent tragedies for other families.
Schaffer wrote The Unthinkable: Life, Loss and a Mother’s Mission to Ban Illegal Guns in 2013. She hopes that this book will help counteract the violence and easy accessibility of guns. The honoree has been donating copies of the book to local colleges because, as she said, students are “our future.”
Her ongoing mission to reduce gun violence has included speaking about sensible gun legislation to various local and national groups, attending press conferences, gun-control rallies and the legislative hearings on gun control in Connecticut after the Newtown massacre.
Schaffer and her husband, David, live in Great Neck and have a son, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.