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Quiet activists enjoy their time in the spotlight

Fifteen local residents who work for the betterment of the community were lauded, on Tuesday, February 23, as the Bay Ridge Community Council handed out its 12th annual Hidden Treasures of the Community Awards.

The honorees were:

  • Kathleen Sinagra and Jill Rizzi, who were nominated by St. Bernadette School for their tireless efforts on behalf of the Bruzzese family, which has been under significant financial stress in caring for daughter Julia, who lost the use of her legs last year after contracting Lyme disease;
  • Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center;
  • Dr. Robert Flanzer and Eleanor Rosenblatt, of the Bay Ridge Mental Health Council;
  • Elizabeth Mitchell Connors, of the Colonial Club of Bay Ridge;
  • Eileen LaRuffa, a volunteer with Historic New Utrecht;
  • Dorothy Garuccio, from Community Board 10;
  • Rosanne Miller, of the Columbiettes;
  • Christine Deem, Janet Batista and Pat Riley, from St. Anselm Catholic Academy and its Home School Association; and,
  • Richard Haugland, Jessica Amato and James Johnson, of the Narrows Botanical Gardens.

“This community is made up of people who give back to the community,” noted Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “The list I see tonight of people being honored includes people who are anchors in this neighborhood.”

For the honorees, the efforts are labors of love. Connors, who moved to Bay Ridge in 1977 and has been in the neighborhood ever since, recalled how “welcoming” the community was when she first arrived. “I would like to say thank you, Bay Ridge,” Connors concluded.

“You are all the Pride of Bay Ridge,” said Amato, a teacher at McKinley Intermediate School, which dubs itself “the Pride of Bay Ridge.”

“I’m proud to be a member of this community,” she added.

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