2002-08-24 / Community

Meeks Hosts JPAFHC Function

Dr. Peter Nelson (left) shakes hands with Congressman Gregory W. Meeks at the function.Dr. Peter Nelson (left) shakes hands with Congressman Gregory W. Meeks at the function.

"I can’t forget where I came from, I can’t forget what my mother taught me", remarked Congressman Gregory W. Meeks at a Cocktail Party he recently hosted for the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center (JPAFHC).

Meeks was speaking to a crowd of potential donors interested in naming opportunities for the new Addabbo Health Center at 6200 Beach Channel Drive.

"I was once Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Addabbo Center. I know first hand the struggles the center has gone through over the years," said the Congressman.

"It was once PRYME providing health care for Rockaway children. In 1987, Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo Sr. put forth legislation to create the first and only Federally Qualified Community Family Health Center in the borough of Queens. Thus, the name changed to The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center. With this new federal mandate of caring for the poor, the uninsured, the underinsured and the immigrants, the center began to grow and require management with a unique vision. Thank God that Dr. Nelson took on a leadership role because he has brought the Health Center to where it is now, and he is ready and able to take it all the way to the new site at 6200 Beach Channel Drive," Meeks continued.

Left to right: Robert Levine (Peninsula Hospital Center), Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr., Dr. Peter Nelson (JPAFHC), Congressman Meeks, Simone Meeks, and Curtis Archer (RDRC).Left to right: Robert Levine (Peninsula Hospital Center), Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr., Dr. Peter Nelson (JPAFHC), Congressman Meeks, Simone Meeks, and Curtis Archer (RDRC).

After giving a brief history of the center, the Congressman spoke about the momentous task ahead of building a new state-of-the-art health center at 6200 Beach Channel Drive.

"The total price of the project is projected to be 9.5 million dollars. I have secured 1.5 million myself, and have put the wheels in motion to go back for more in next year’s budget. I understand that our newly elected Assembly member Michelle Titus has gotten $200,000 from the Assembly’s Community Capital Budget. I welcome Michelle taking a strong stand for this community and our health needs. She will be a strong advocate for us in Albany."

Meeks also took a moment to acknowledge his wife and her role as a health advocate.

"My wife, Simone, is Co-Chair of the 6th Congressional District’s Health Advisory Group. Simone is familiar with the drastic health statistics in South East Queens, and especially in our Rockaway community. She believes this new health center will make a difference in how health care is approached in our community."

"Prevention is the key", remarked said Simone Meeks. "Our community must be educated in all matters of health concerns. I look for the new center to enhance the community education currently being offered and to be a beacon in all of Queens for the health education of all its residents."

City Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. remarked how proud he and his family are of the work being done by the Addabbo Health Center.

"As a child growing up, the health center was always a part of our daily lives. I can remember hearing conversations at dinner, phone calls, meetings – this was a big part of what my father believed in. He was able to secure the Addabbo Family Health Center as the only Federally Qualified Community Health Center in all of Queens County. I join with Congressman Meeks, Simone Meeks, and Assemblywoman Titus in pledging my support to the building of this new center."

Dr. J. R. Peter Nelson, Executive Director of the Joseph P. Addabbo Health Center, reminded everyone of the continuous support he has received from the elected officials.

"Congressman Meeks and his wife are long-time friends, as is Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. Assembly Member Titus is a new friend, one very concerned with the quality of health care for the community and the new health care facility at 6200 Beach Channel Drive. We do appreciate her financial support of $200,000 towards our new facility and look forward to a vibrant relationship."

Robert Levine, CEO of Peninsula Hospital, and Curtis Archer, Executive Director of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), were also on hand to lend their support.

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