Mensch - A Person of Integrity and Honor: The Brenner Family Legacy

By Kim Kupfer

Sam F. Brenner, of The Brenner Family Of Dealerships, grew up with a Mensch of a father.

Sam’s dad, Michael A. Brenner, led by example. He was selflessly generous with other’s needs, his time, thoughts, and all conversations. Besides being a successful leader and businessman, Brenner valued giving back to the community in which he lived. He was known for his extensive generosity.

Upon learning of his father’s illness and subsequent death from COVID-19 last December, Sam immediately drove home from South Florida, where he had completed his law studies. Although distraught by his father’s abrupt passing, Sam knew he would honor his family and take on the leadership role at The Brenner Family of Dealerships. Continuing his father’s legacy of giving back to the community of Central Pennsylvania has always been one of Sam’s goals.

It was not surprising that Sam, raised with this legacy of philanthropy, took on a leadership role as a Board member for JFS upon returning to Central PA. When Sam won four tickets to a Philadelphia Flyers game at a corporate meeting, he immediately texted Steve Schauder, Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg, and asked if JFS had a family who would be interested in attending the hockey game. Sam not only donated the tickets but transportation to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, along with a food stipend for the game.

Enter the Walmer family…

The Walmers have worked with the Foster and Adoption Program of JFS for the past 4 years. They have three adopted children and five biological ones. Brad is a Harrisburg School teacher and Lisa homeschools the children. They just so happen to be avid Flyers fans.

When learning of the Flyers opportunity, Lisa immediately accepted. Brad and Lisa, along with two of their children, Levi and Griffen, attended the game. Levi, 15, mentors Griffen, 6, the youngest adopted son, who comes from a hard place and truly struggles. Levi plays sports in high school and he and Griffen can often be found outside playing ball.

Michael Brenner would be thrilled to know his family’s generosity gave a family their highlight of 2021. When the limousine arrived at the Walmer home, smiles lit up on all their faces. What a special opportunity for the whole family, but especially for Griffen. Every day for the past month he asked at least five times per day when the hockey game was, in anticipation. It was truly a Mitzvah.

JFS extends its deepest thanks to Sam Brenner and the Brenner Family of Dealerships for making such a special day for one of our families. The Brenner name means so much to the Greater Harrisburg community and it is a pleasure to see the next generation already emerging to take on the mantle of leadership.