Wyandanch, NY – Suffolk County Legislature Democratic Leader Jason Richberg recently recognized residents of Suffolk's 15th Legislative District who have gone above and beyond supporting their community over the past year, as well as a pair of longtime community advocates with his second annual Community Awards program.
“Being able to host our annual awards program and show appreciation to a few of our residents for their work in the community is one of the highlights of serving as a legislator,” said Leg. Richberg. “When someone thinks of a ‘public servant’ they typically think of elected officials, but this year’s group features some of the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever known, who spend every waking moment thinking about how they can better their community and help their neighbors. I am incredibly proud to recognize this year’s winners and I sincerely thank them all for their work.”
The event, held virtually, recognized efforts in four categories: Group of the Year, Sustainability, Community Effort, and the Legacy Award.
Group of the Year: Concerned Citizens of Wyandanch Civic Association, Inc.
The Concerned Citizens of Wyandanch Civic Association envision a healthier, more respected Wyandanch community- which they believe can be achieved by communicating effectively with stakeholder groups, maintaining and increasing property value through caring about our environment and community. CCWCA works tirelessly to enhance community engagement through civic leadership. This year, the Civic has been collaborating with new partners and residents in ongoing community activities. The projects focus on environmental justice, anti-smoke/vape shop establishment, sustainability, school equity, infrastructure/reform development and addressing social and emotional barriers that impact quality of life issues, building a stronger community identity.
Sustainability Award: Laurie Farber of Sustainable Wyandanch
Laurie Farber serves as the founder and executive director of Starflower Experiences, a non-profit educational organization that offers programs and experiences to help young people understand, appreciate, and live more in harmony with nature. This past year, Starflower Experiences' Sustainable Wyandanch project brought members to the Wyandanch Middle School garden to learn about sustainable gardening and healthy eating, and planted a new garden at the Elementary School. Laurie also leads a group of students known as the Wyandanch Earth Rangers, who continued to meet virtually through the pandemic. The Earth Rangers received a DEC Environmental Justice grant for their Good Earth, Good Gardens project which provides households with compost tumblers, and they are continuing to work on their next grant project to try to reduce waste and increase recycling in Wyandanch.
Community Effort Award: Mike Giuffrida of Long Island Coalition for the Homeless
Mike Giuffrida is the Associate Director at Long Island Coalition for the Homeless and has worked in the human services field on Long Island for sixteen years. At LICH, Mike helps coordinate the funding process for programs serving homeless populations, oversees the coordinated entry housing referral system, leads, or participates on several targeted committees that address homelessness for various subpopulations, coordinates an annual point-in-time homeless count for all Long Island, and facilitates and leads long-term strategic planning efforts to end homelessness on Long Island. Mike has directly participated in street outreach on Long Island since 2013 (pre-dating his formal role at LICH) and now directs regional strategies on addressing street homelessness and oversees the LICH Street Outreach team. Mike was proud to assist with the initiative to effectively end Veteran homelessness, which was recognized by HUD, the VA, and other federal agencies in June of 2016.
Legacy Award: Sharon Fattoruso of the Copiague Chamber of Commerce
Sharon Fattoruso has served as President of the Copiague Chamber of Commerce for the past 12 years. A lifelong resident of Copiague, Sharon has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life of her fellow residents. Over the years as Copiague Chamber president, Sharon started the annual Copiague Family Festival, and has been heavily involved in the Revitalization of downtown Copiague, beautifying the corners at Oak Street & Great Neck Road, installing new signage, a new clock, flagpole and beautiful updated landscaping, as well as at Gateway Park, installing new signage, new flagpoles & benches. As Beautification Ambassador for the Town of Babylon, each year Sharon planted flowers around Copiague and put flags up every year from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. Sharon retired from her position as Chamber president this past year, and leaves behind a legacy of service and community support that will not soon be forgotten.
Legacy Award: Terrence "Boozer" Edwards of the North Amityville Old School Association
Terrence “Boozer” Edwards is nothing short of a North Amityville legend. Boozer, as he is affectionately known, moved to Long Island in 1968 and attended Amityville Memorial High School. In 1973, Boozer started a community softball team called C.B.S. The team was a fixture in North Amityville for nearly 20 years, providing the community with entertainment every Sunday and hosting an annual summer BBQ. After his retirement in 2004, Boozer and other community members founded the North Amityville Old School Association, with a goal of furthering the quality of life of the young people and seniors of North Amityville through community outreach and bonding. Each August, they host a community festival at Belmont Park for all residents, and it continues to be a great success to this day. On September 26 2015, to thank him for his service to his community, Boozer was enshrined as the "Unofficial Mayor" of North Amityville.
The virtual award ceremony is available to watch by visiting www.Facebook.com/Leg.Richberg.