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Chuck Otey and the The Merchants of Third Avenue gear up for the 24th Annual Champagne Reception.

Celebrating those that make a difference.

The Merchants of Third Avenue will once again honor men and women who have made a positive impact in the community as Pioneers and Civic Award winners. This year, the 24th time it has bestowed the awards, the organization has selected 16 individuals who have contributed to the shopping strip or the community at large and who will be feted during a celebration at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 16.

“We started it 24 years ago,” said Merchants Secretary Chuck Otey. Initially, he said, “What we wanted to do was honor the people who had started the modern Third Avenue effort in the 1960s.”  The reason for the Pioneers concept, he added, was, “To show that we had a history and that we are very active.”

The Civic Award winners have had a broader impact, Otey went on, stressing, nonetheless, “We always want to focus on Third Avenue because we want it to be the focus of what we do.”

This year, the timing is unique as the event follows the shopping strip’s biggest weekend, with the Ragamuffin Parade on Saturday, October 14 and the Third Avenue Festival on Sunday, October 15. “It marks a high point of the season,” Otey stressed.

This year’s Pioneers are Renee Dorsa, broker/owner, Dorsa Group Realty; Joe Elhilow, Elhilow & Associates P.C.; Dennis Taveras and Francisco Chevalier, Blue Agave Restaurant & Tequileria; Tom D’Elia, managing director, registered principal, D’Elia Financial Group, LLC; and Jeanine Condon, Lisa DeLuca and Melissa Franz, co-owners of Charmed by JLM.

This year’s Civic Honorees are Theresa Monforte-Caravallo, owner, Grandma’s Love; Meaghan McGoldrick, managing editor, Brooklyn Media Group; Joann Monaco, Esq., Law Office of Joann Monaco; Walter Ochoa, owner, Right at Home; Sara Steinweiss, mediator/conflict coach/owner, Conflict Resolution Systems; and Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City.

The Larry Morrish Community Service Award will be given to Danielle Rutuelo, community supporter.

The New Business Award will be given to Mike Kaves, owner of the Brooklyn Firefly.

“We have a great representation of Pioneers,” Otey said. “It symbolizes the partnership in Bay Ridge between the civic and business communities. Most of our members actually live here or have lived here. That’s unique. There aren’t many neighborhoods that can say that.”

Tickets to the event are $60.

For more information, call 347-225-3657.


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