On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter
Of course and as usual Owen and I were "on time to be late"! However this particular evening we were detained by a traffic jam on Rockaway Beach boulevard and Beach 124 street. We could see the glaring lights and up ahead there were maybe six police cars! We thought, "It's an accident! No, no, it's someone getting a ticket! That wasn't it either." As we approached we saw there in the midst of it all was none other than our Councilman Al Stabile! I said to myself, "Oh, it's Al! He's just talking!" And so began our evening at the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce 75th Annual Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance held on Wednesday evening September 27 at the Washington Hotel.
An exciting roster of people from various parts of our eclectic community stepped out to celebrate and pay tribute to this year's honorees. This year will also mark a change in leadership as President Steven Wolf passes the scepter to Liz Sulik and a new era begins. Anyone who has ever been even remotely involved on a "Liz Sulik project" will tell you that her boundless energy, commitment, and enthusiasm are thoroughly contagious. I can't fathom this woman having a good night's sleep perhaps since the day she was born!
I think Congressman Anthony Weiner described her best when he spoke about the National Night Out Against Crime fireworks display having been cancelled due to bad weather; and that if they had to be cancelled a second time (during Labor Day weekend), then he was absolutely certain that rather than postpone it a third time, Liz would set the fireworks off in her house!
Liz addressed the audience describing the next two years as critical to Rockaway's development. She anticipates that we are about to enter into an exciting period; and with everyone on the same page, wonderful things can and will happen.
Harold Cornell presented the Chamber's Man of the Year Award to
Councilman Stabile for his "focused efforts toward development and improving our community." Stabile spoke about how proud he was of this part of his district and the community-minded people who, despite many obstacles, have never given up on their vision.
Dance Committee Chairman John Lapore, whose energy is perhaps comparable to that of Liz, presented this year's Businessmen of the Year Award to those really "good guys", Steve and Kenny Good for their leadership, courage, generosity and fortitude. Together, they have set a new standard for excellence in our community. Aside from their obvious and consistent generosity with causes ranging from the Annual Night
Out Against Crime to the various little league organizations, I have often
remarked and have marveled by their consistent patience and graciousness. They are the quintessential elegant hosts of Rockaway. And this night truly belonged to them.
The Amity Awards were presented to three distinguished spiritual leaders of our community: Rabbi Joseph Weiss, Rev. Wenton Fyne, and Father Peter Gillen who symbolize a new and possible world of wisdom, mercy, unity, and humanity. Although I have never before met Rev Fyne, I have experienced the wisdom and inspiration of both Father Gillen and Rabbi Joe who have devoted
much of their lives to the spirit of inclusiveness among different faiths.
The Humanitarian Award was presented to Harvey Gordon, president of the Rockaway Jewish Community Council, for his extraordinary work and dedication on behalf of the various social, business, and ethnic groups and whose work has been an inspiration to us all.
Over the years I have often heard the name Fred Springer, mostly from my friend Barbara J. Morris who regarded Mr. Springer as her dear friend and mentor. His life has had an enduring impact on her, as well as on so many others who knew him. Although I never had the pleasure of having known Fred Springer, I have had the pleasure of knowing Harold Rochelle for whom this award was especially created. Harold Rochelle typifies the genuine integrity, decency, and civic-minded sincerity that was the apparent essence of Mr. Springer. Harold Rochelle wears this award well.
The John E. Fetscher award was presented to the always very dashing
Walter Roberts who has endowed us for many years with his efforts and
achievements on behalf of the Rockaway community.
A well deserved congratulations to all the honorees!