When former Commack resident Rachel Doyle started GlamourGals 12 years ago, she said it was "just an idea."
That "idea" came full circle Thursday at the East Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the Bronx. Doyle and her GlamourGal volunteers were pleasantly surprised when Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and David Robertson made a surprise appearance as part of Yankees HOPE Week 2012.
Doyle said she was informed they'd be there only minutes before their arrival.
"When they showed up and walked through the door, I was like, 'Wow, we got the Yankees here,' " Doyle said. "These people are really busy and they have plenty of other places that they can be."
The Yankees made a $10,000 donation to GlamourGals.
The mission of GlamourGals, established when Doyle was a senior at Commack High School, is to inspire teenagers to provide beauty makeovers and companionship to elderly women residing in nursing homes.
GlamourGals has 62 chapters and more than 1,200 volunteers nationwide.
Doyle said she wanted to honor her grandmother and started the program in 1998 shortly after her passing.
The Bronx chapter of GlamourGals consists of about 20 students from Lehman High School.
"It feels really good to help out," said Aleksandra Sabov, who will begin her junior year at Lehman in September. "I talked to one lady who said she had 34 grandchildren. It was really cool."
The seniors were overjoyed by the attention and makeovers they received from GlamourGals and the Yankees.
"You don't know what this means to me," said Bertram, 86. "They used to show the news before the movies came on in the theater in Belgium. They always showed the Yankees on the news . . . I'm a Yankee fan from way back."
Bertram said she knew about baseball and the Yankees before she immigrated to the United States and learned to speak English.
Swisher, who completed a makeover on East Haven resident Selma Gelberg, 100, said he enjoyed every moment he spent at the facility and likened Doyle's story to his own experiences.
"When Rachel's grandmother passed away, that's when she started all of this. And for me, it was the same thing," Swisher said. "When my grandma passed away, I really felt like I needed to do a lot of things to make up for that loss."
Gardner also had fun interacting with the seniors.
"They're obviously really excited about us being here," he said. "We're just trying to bring a smile to their face."