Public Advocate Tish James discusses senior services at SUN-B breakfast

It was a breakfast for champions at the Dyker Beach Golf Course, as the Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn (SUN-B) hosted its 11th Annual Membership Breakfast on March 18. Throughout the morning, members of SUN-B gathered to listen to guest speaker, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, as well as honor five individuals for their hard work and commitment to senior rights and SUN-B.

“We are here to celebrate our membership and honor deserving individuals in the political arena as well as within our own membership and community,” said SUN-B Chair Vicki Ellner. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the room. This is something we’re thrilled to do every year.”

James was met with a huge ovation once she took the stage. “It’s an honor to be here this morning. The issue of social isolation is very real,” she stated. “One of the greatest things during my campaign was that I met so many wonderful seniors. I had dinner with them. I served them. I love seniors. I took care of my mom until she died three years ago at the age of 92. So seniors have a special place in my heart. “

Throughout her speech, James addressed various issues that seniors currently face, one of them being the sometimes unreliable service of Access-A-Ride. “There have been a number of complaints regarding Access-A-Ride,” she told the group. “Recently we had one senior who visited our office. That woman waited in office for five hours for Access-A-Ride to pick her up. We’re looking at it and meeting with the agency. Sometimes they wait in cold, rain, sitting on curbs. That’s unacceptable. We have to do better than that.”

James also discussed the issue of seniors receiving tickets for not shoveling their property though they may be physically unable. “I’ve introduced legislation that will reduce fines for seniors and disabled people that are unable to shovel their sidewalks,” she said.

SUN-B also awarded the Shining Star Award to Susan Ferraro, who is leaving her role as the VP/treasurer of the organization. “We honor and recognize her for being the cornerstone of a vibrant organization that she has had such a vibrant role in,” said Ellner. “She has not only been a rising star but a shining light to this organization. We’ve been the beneficiaries of her talents and will not be the same without her.” Ferraro received a plaque along with a Superwoman hat signed by members of SUN-B.

Among the World Award Honorees were Nannearl Blackshear from the office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Anthony Lemma from Office of Assemblymember David Weprin as well as Jeffrey Rosenfeld, PhD of PLANWISE, Inc. and SUN-B Board Member Christopher Nadeau of NY Memory Center. The trophy read, “Thank you for everything that you’ve done for us.”

The breakfast was also a celebration of the organization’s continued growth. The day also included networking and raffles.  “SUN-B is a mechanism for professionals to connect and develop relationships, share resources, ideas, get familiar with each other,” said Ellner. “They are great people in this organization. We are celebrating our 11th year. It’s a small but mighty organization. And every year, they’re coming. It’s gratifying.”

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