2002-09-21 / Columnists

Simon Says….

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

There are still a few seats available for our Atlantic City bus trip Saturday, September 21. The cost is $28 with $16 returned. We leave at 5:30 P.M. and return at 8 a.m. Call our office for reservations.

On Thursday, October 10, we will hold our 15th Anniversary Annual Dinner Dance. Dinner and live music will be presented at Rockaway's Beach Club, 129 Beach 116 Street from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. We are honoring Harolyn Fritz, UFT, Alphonse and Thomas Catanese, Two Brothers Construction, Timothy Keenan, BCVFD and Daniel O'Brien, 100 Pct. The cost is $50 per person.

If you like the work the Good Government club does for the community, come aboard for the dinner. I am an unpaid elected leader with no pay for office rent, staff or expenses. It costs us a pretty penny to keep our office and phone going to serve the public. We get and return hundreds of phone calls each week. We never ask what party they belong to or if they live outside the district. It is now time to help us to continue to advocate on your behalf.

As my mom, God rest her soul, would say, "It is very nice people remember and thank you, but unfortunately thank you does not pay the bills." We love what we do. Please help us to continue. Your continued support will allow me to do what I enjoy most.

This week was very sad as memorials were held for those lost on 9/11. All you see are people depressed, angered, upset and sobbing their hearts out. Our heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one, friend or neighbor.

The ceremony at Ground Zero was surely moving as they read all the names of the heroes lost on 9/11. Tears came to my eyes every time names of friends and loved ones were read. It was fitting that the name of my dearly departed best friend Stephen Lefkowitz was in the group ready by State Comptroller Carl McCall and his associate. The comptroller was a man Stephen admired so much. Stephen was a tax mediator for the State Department of Audit and Finance. My heart goes out to all the families who listened for the names of their loved ones.

On Tuesday evening, September 10, the Five towns Rockaway Inter-faith Clergy Council started off with a meeting at Engine 268 Ladder 137 on Beach 116 Street. They had a prayer ceremony to remember all who were lost on 9/11, the Clergy council put together a program which included participation from all over the surrounding area.

The program at St. Francis playground included musical selections from the Lawrence Public Schools, a Call to Prayer from Rev. A. Elisabeth Aurand, Incarnation Lutheran, Cedarhurst, Reflections from Monsignor Martin T. Geraghty of St.. Francis de Sales, Remarks from Fire Chief thomas Jordan, 47 Battalion, FDNY, and Captain Charles V. Talamo, 100 Pct. and Sister Ruth Lautt, O.P. Sisters of St. Dominic.

Prayers for the dead were offered in the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim traditions. While all who participated were inspiring, I found Monsignor Geraghty beautiful as always and Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Temple Israel excellent and really hit home. After sitting that evening, it was quite apparent there was not a dry eye present. We owe our lives to the firemen, police, EMS, Red Cross, steel and iron workers and the thousands of volunteers who came from all over the country to recover bodies and body parts in the WTC rubble.

On Wednesday evening the winds were kicking up from 30 to 60 mph. I commented, as well as I heard it from others, that this was the spirits of the thousands of people killed at the WTC. It was an eerie feeling as the weather had been so good.

Tuesday evening, Marie Russell, mother of fallen firefighter Stephen Russell, attended the memorial at the firehouse. I extended my sympathy, Marie, you look great. To the Russell family: Keep up your strength. We love you. You are a wonderful, long time Rockaway family.

On Wednesday evening, we attended a beautiful memorial in Breezy Point. The memorial was scheduled to be on the ball field, but due to the high winds it was moved to the Point Breeze clubhouse. This memorial was extremely moving. We stood next to a mother and her two daughters who lost their husband and father. It broke my heart to see these beautiful young girls and others who lost their loved ones.

Among those on the program were Monsignor Michael Connolly, Scott Neibel, President, Roxbury People's Association, Steve Greenberg, Chairman of the Board, Rev. Henry Fury, Christ community Church, Chris Stokes, President, Point Breeze Association, Richie Anderson, President Rockaway Point Association and Fr. Jack St. Genevieve's Parish.

At the end of the Breezy Memorial we attended a memorial at the West End Temple. Rep. Anthony Weiner, Sen. Malcolm Smith and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer spoke. The memorial was tearful but beautiful. Rabbi May cordially invited us to the Sylvane Room after the service to hear Dr. Tibbi Duboys discuss grief and sorrow. Dr. Duboys, program head of Childhood Education in the School of Education at Brooklyn College is well known for running bereavement groups. She has a heart of compassion and a great personality.

I want to especially thank two young ladies who accompanied me to all the memorials. Rochelle (Shelly) Ginis and Leslie Martin from the Greater NY Hospital Fund Relief Program at St. Johns Hospital in Far Rockaway were available in case anyone needed counseling. If you need to talk to someone about flashbacks, nightmares, emotional terror, irritability, agitation, hyper-vigilance, insomnia, uncontrolled crying or a sense of doom, call them at (718) 869-8822. They are available to counsel you at home at any time of the day or evening. I want to thank these two ladies for being there for the community and myself. Thanks for letting me cry on your shoulder.

The Good Government club is open every Thursday evening from 7 to 11 PM. We meet at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive. Come to chat, ask a question or get involved. You don't have to be a member, but membership is welcomed.

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