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Saluting community stalwarts at annual BRCC luncheon

Local activists and elected officials broke bread together as the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) hosted its annual Presidents Luncheon on February 1, honoring the members of the over 90 organizations that make up the BRCC and help ensure the quality of life in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.

As an organization of organizations, BRCC – an umbrella organization founded in 1951 by brothers Walter and Vincent Kassenbrock – encapsulates the best of Bay Ridge, which thrives on community participation.

It is “through the member organizations that Bay Ridge is vibrant,” stressed Robert Kassenbrock, BRCC’s executive secretary.

“Everyone seems to get involved and do good by their neighborhood,” added BRCC President Renee Dorsa, who said, “I see a bright and vibrant future for the neighborhood I have called home my entire life. More and more families are moving into the community because it has so much to offer to people of all ages and backgrounds.”

It is the efforts of volunteers that make the difference, noted State Senator Marty Golden. “The only way to keep the community strong is by volunteering and getting involved,” he said, preaching to the choir of over 100 people gathered at the Bay Ridge Manor, for whom being involved is a labor of love.

Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny agreed. “Your work and dedication make Bay Ridge a very special place,” he told the assembled crowd. “It is a community of great and wonderful community values.”

His colleague, City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, had his entrance into the world of civic activism thanks to BRCC, which he served as president, prior to being elected to public office.

“That’s the great and unique thing about Bay Ridge,” he remarked. “We have all these different organizations here and we ask you not only to be involved and active in your organization, but we ask you to go another step. We ask you to be active in an umbrella organization that is unique, and you do it, and you have been doing it for decades.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who took office exactly a month earlier, paid the BRCC a visit, as well, to introduce himself to those who might not know him and to introduce the theme of his administration – “One Brooklyn.”

“We have to come together as one borough,” Adams contended. Given Brooklyn’s amazing diversity, he went on, “As long as you have a common denominator, you can add the fractions together.” And, the common denominator is definitely there, Adams affirmed, mentioning such issues as “safe streets, providing for our children and affordable housing” as ones that everyone, no matter what their neighborhood or ethnicity, has in common.

Among the day’s announcements: BRCC will be hosting its annual community picnic at Fort Hamilton on Sunday, June 8, with its photography contest, its essay contest and its police and fire awards coming up beforehand.

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