2002-04-20 / Community

Bravest And Finest Celebrated By Chamber

Bravest And Finest Celebrated By Chamber

The fifth annual Bravest and Finest Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, Inc., was held last Thursday at Russo's On The Bay. This very special ceremony was attended by more than 350 people, the majority coming from the rank and file of the police and fire personnel assigned to the Rockaway peninsula. With a supporting audience in attendance of elected officials, Rockaway business people, family, friends, and neighbors of the honorees, 14 of these brave men and women were brought up individually to the podium by their commanding officers who had singled them out for designation as this year's "Bravest and Finest."

FDNY honorees included Lieutenant William Gallagher, Ladder 137, Firefighter Glen Ott, Engine 266, Lieutenant Frederick Atkins, Engine 328, Firefighter Gerard Ferrin, Engine 266, and Firefighter William Quick, Ladder 134.

EMS Personnel who joined the "bravest and finest" of Rockaway this year included Paramedic William Moore, Lieutenant David Burke, and Emergency Medical Technician John Mayrose.

New York City Police Department honorees from Transit District 23, the 100, and 101 Precincts included, Sergeant Kevin D. McVeigh, Detective Specialist Thomas Speed, Police Officer Christine Weisenauer, Police Officer Hector Tello, retired, Police Officer Carl Robinson, and Police Officer Michael McCabe. Each of the honorees received a beautiful signed Rockaway Beach print by local artist Arlene Cornell with a brass plaque, inscribed: "Rockaway's Hero." Each individual honoree was also presented with two theater tickets to see John Lithgow in the new Broadway smash hit, "The Sweet Smell of Success," courtesy of SVM Corporate Marketing.

The afternoon's activities began with a presentation of colors by the New York Police Department Ceremonial Unit, with a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem sung by Police Officer Timothy Maurer. The afternoon's invocation was delivered by Reverend Jan Powell, pastor, First Congregational Church. The welcome and recognition of honored guests, and greetings to the packed crowd gathered to honor their own were presented by John Lepore, First Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Liz Sulik, Chamber President. The corporate sponsor of the "Bravest and Finest" luncheon was Allstate Insurance Company.

Special "Bravest and Finest" presentations this year were also awarded to the Inspector Ronald Wassen, of the New York Police Department's Emergency Services Unit, Truck 9, which also services the Rockaway peninsula, as well as to Rockaway's diligent and dedicated volunteer corps personnel from the Broad Channel Volunteer Ambulance Corps., The Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department, the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department, and The Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and R.E.C.W.A. (Rockaway's Emergency Weather Station). Each of these units, along with the individual firehouses and police precincts located in Rockaway, were honored with a signed patriotic photograph by local artist Liz Smith, which read: "For Doing More, Doing It Better, and Exceeding All Expectations."

A special award to all precinct's, firehouses, EMS, and volunteer units of Rockaway, a white alabaster and marble eagle, which is the symbol of American Airlines, was presented by the regional director of sales of American Airlines, Mr. John Lisiewski.

A very special canine, Police Dog "Kiefer", representing the canine corps of the NYPD, and handled by Police Officer Chris Hanley, was presented with a "doggie treat" award.

Chamber President Liz Sulik was toasted by the top cops of the 101st Precinct, who took it upon themselves to offer the Chamber of Commerce thanks for going above and beyond during this trying year.

According to Chamber president Liz Sulik, the friendly and professional staff of Russo's went out of their way to open their arms to the Rockaway crowd, and put forth a luncheon fit for royalty. A beautiful and bountiful Basket of Cheer, won by 100th Precinct Rookie Police Officer George DelGardio, helped defray some of the afternoon's expenses. The contents of the basket were donated by: Station Liquors; Danny Curran, P.J. Curran's; Bernie Heering, The Harbor Light Pub; and Jimmy O'Sullivan, The Kerry Hills. The beautiful table arrangements, fresh spring floral arrangements, were donated through the courtesy of Barbara J. Morris, West End Realty. Additionally, Wave Publishing Company is also credited with a large in-kind donation that helped make the "Bravest and Finest" luncheon the success that it was.


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