The Wave’s editorial staff had much to celebrate about this week. On Tuesday, May 9, the Rockaway Park Chapter of Hadassah honored Wave Editor John McLoughlin for his service to the community through his civic efforts and advocacy of issues. The following day, Wednesday, May 10, Associate Editor Joan Ward (Joani) George was recognized by the New York City Police Foundation for her continued efforts in making Rockaway’s streets safer through her Most Wanted Fugitives From Justice column and CRIMESTOPPERS program.
A third generation Rockawayite, John received Hadassah’s "From The Heart" Award to honor his commitment to the community. A graduate of Rockaway schools, John has worn many hats in the community. As a teenager, John was frequently involved with beach and neighborhood beautification projects and humanitarian endeavors. After graduating from Hofstra University, John joined the staff of City Councilman Al Stabile. John served as Stabile’s Rockaway representative, addressing constituent concerns and legislative issues, while getting a first hand lesson in the inner workings of city government.
Always an advocate for local merchants and the overall economic revitalization of Rockaway, John was elected to the executive board of the Rockaway Park Business Development Association in 1997, where he assisted in business improvement and beautification efforts for Beach 116 Street. He presently is vice president of the Board of Directors of the Claddagh I.N.N., Rockaway’s soup kitchen. Since taking the role of vice president, John has assisted in efforts to reorganize and restructure the Claddagh I.N.N and volunteers his time serving or delivering food or providing support to many families in Rockaway.
John is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Park Association, a civic group with more than 350 members. He also sits on the Community Advisory Council at Peninsula Hospital Center, is a patron of the Lt. Bernard H. Wiener Jewish War Veterans Post, and is a supporter of many other community activities. Recently, John has headed fundraising efforts for Steven Morales, a six-year-old Far Rockaway boy with a cancerous brain tumor. More than $16,000 was raised in one month for Steven and his family, which enabled them to seek a cancer treatment that was not covered by medical insurance. All chemotherapy and radiation have been unsuccessful, making this treatment the last hope for Steven.
Joani George, who has only lived in Rockaway for eight years, has been The Wave’s crime reporter/associate editor for the past few years. About three years ago she began working with the local police in both the 100 and 101 Precincts to improve the quality of life of Rockaway’s residents by featuring Rockaway’s notorious criminals in what became the Most Wanted Fugitives From Justice column. The brainchild of Sgt. Artie Nappo of the 100 Precinct, the Most Wanted program has assisted the police in capturing more than 70 dangerous criminals, making the streets of Rockaway safer for our families, our children and our senior citizens.
Having received numerous awards in the past from the NYPD and New York Press Association, Joani was recognized by board members of CRIMESTOPPERS this week for having such a successful program. Joani had the opportunity to explain the Most Wanted program in length to board members and will be participating in future workshops to bring this effort citywide. Joani was recognized for strengthening the community-police-press relations in Rockaway.
Joani also has a history of civic activism in the Rockaways. She was a founding member and board member of the Rockaway Park Business Development Association. Through this organization, Joani co-chaired the Family Fun Faire, a day event that transformed Beach 116 street into a center of shopping, entertainment, carnival games and rides.
Joani has also been an active member of the Rockaway Action Committee, 100 Precinct Community Council, and has been involved as a coach and a press liaison for the Rockaway Little League for many years. She is also a busy mother of three active children, and presently serves as a class mother for her St. Francis de Sales’ fifth grader. Joani has been a class mother, or team mother, for one or more of her kids for the past 20 years. Prior to relocating from Tennessee to Rockaway, Joani was a certified catechist, and she and her husband taught religious education classes for many years, preparing teenagers for the Confirmation ceremony.
The editorial staff is completed with Heather Dalton, who became the editorial assistant in September 1999. Heather’s experience in reporting for a national women’s magazine, and being a Rockaway resident as well, quickly made her an asset to The Wave.
"I applaud the editorial department for their great work, in the community and with the newspaper," said Leon Locke, publisher of The Wave. "John, Joani and Heather have an honest passion for Rockaway and its residents, and together they continue to make a difference in our community."