The annual signature event for the Society of Brooklynites has been the memorial tribute ceremonies held at the base of the 149-foot Prison Ship Martyrs Monument which is at the top of the hill in Fort Greene Park. In a crypt 40 feet under this towering monument are the remains of 11,500 patriots from the American Revolution, making it the largest burial site of America’s first POWs.
It warms my heart to see that these almost forgotten veterans may finally receive the national recognition they truly deserve. As a longtime member, publicist, second vice president and now first veep, this columnist has been working closely with Society President George Broadhead, and Past Presidents Frank Spinner, Terry Rosen, Ralph Perfetto and Ron Schweiger to raise civic awareness about this important monument and the sacred site it was erected on.
Through the initial efforts of Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries who got a bill passed in the House that was co-sponsored in the Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the National Park Service held a public meeting this past week in Brooklyn to hear about proposals to make the site a national monument.
We have to applaud the clever fund-raising campaign by the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. Its novel pitch: “Are you up to a President’s Day Challenge?” The group is asking everyone who has been affected or who has a family member or friend with a birthmark to step up and support VBF with a donation by February 20, Presidents’ Day 2017.
VBF is soliciting donations of a Washington ($1), a Lincoln ($5), a Jackson ($20) or a Grant ($50). And just for you Broadway fans, the organization is accepting a Hamilton ($10) because it’s not going to waste its shot at getting you involved! Even though he wasn’t a president, the group would never say no to a Benjamin ($100)! Checks, not U.S. dollars should be sent to the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, PO Box 106, Latham, NY 12110.
To view the outstanding work this foundation does, go to Birthmark.org. I can speak with personal insight; as a result of one of its national VBF seminars I met world-renowned surgeon Dr. Milton Waner.
Our hearty congratulations to our new Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher. Marty was bumped up from Brooklyn Parks chief of staff. He is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, a life member of the Society of Old Brooklynites, a Boy Scout Troop Leader and a past grand marshal of Brooklyn’s annual Kings County Memorial Day Parade.
The Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, the leading lay organization in the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese, will hold its 117th anniversary dinner gala on February 9, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Keynote speaker will be Timothy Cardinal Dolan with honored guests CNBC Senior Commentator Lawrence Kudlow and NEWSMAX CEO Christopher Ruddy. Individual tickets are $400.
Mark Cipolla is the club president and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is the spiritual director. Other officers are Antonio Biondi, vice president; Judge Patricia DiMango, financial secretary; Marianne Bertuna, treasurer and Brian Long, recording secretary.