It was a day of both celebration and remembrance on Friday, June 3 as the Resource Training Center unveiled its brand new van – a luxury that’s been a long time coming for the center.
The van – which will transport patients of the center to and from its locations in Bay Ridge (408 77th Street) and Sunset Park (482 39th Street) – was secured for the center by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, in memory of Larry Morrish, a late, great friend to the center and volunteer for Ortiz who was instrumental in getting the new ride for the center.
“We all love and miss Larry, and we’re so glad that he was a part of getting us this van,” said Donna Mae DePola, president and founder of the Resource Training Center, and longtime friend of Morrish. “This van makes our mission and our business much better, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of this today.”
Ortiz thanked Morrish’s wife Phillipa – also in attendance for the unveiling – for giving him the opportunity to have her husband in his office.
“He is here today, happy that this has happened,” Ortiz said before announcing his efforts to secure yet another $125,000 to $150,000 in capital funding for the Resource Training Center.
For Ortiz, deciding to give back to DePola and her center was a no-brainer.
“She has been a pioneer in this fight for over 20 years,” he said of DePola. “When she reached out to me, I said, ‘Don’t worry about it. What else do you need?’
“A lot of people believe in what you do, and you should be very proud of that,” he went on. “You’ve made a difference in many lives, including my own.”
DePola was quick to share the spotlight.
“I didn’t do this alone,” she said. “I have 40 employees. I might’ve helped to build it, but without them, I am nothing.”
“This instrument, which is given in the memory of our brother, Larry, will make a huge difference for the patients that Donna and her team serve,” added Reverend Khader El-Yateem, there to bless the van.
“I am deeply grateful to you, Donna, and to you, Felix, for having this moment happen, and for this gift that Larry believed in,” said Phillipa Morrish. “He believed in the work that you do. He loved you, Donna, and he loved you, Felix, and I agree with you that he is here today and very, very happy.”