Editorial: Remembering those who served

On April 22, the corner of 78th Street and Third Avenue was named in memory of a great lady, Maureen Stramka, who, over the decades preceding her 2014 death, made her mark on Bay Ridge.

A former president of the Ragamuffin Parade, the Bay Ridge Community Council and the Bay Ridge Lions, Stramka was omnipresent, also serving as a volunteer member of Community Board 10 and the 68th Precinct Community Council, among other organizations, on top of holding down the jobs that paid the bills.

Stramka is just one of this neighborhood’s greats being honored in the coming weeks and months.

Another is Police Officer David Guttenberg, a member of the 68th Precinct, who was gunned down in 1978, just before Christmas, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 86th Street.

Thanks to the efforts of Auxiliary Police Officer Christian Durante, Guttenberg is well on his way to a similar honor, with CB 10 voting on Monday, April 24, to name the corner where he was killed in Guttenberg’s memory.

A street naming in memory of another Bay Ridge icon is also right around the corner. On May 13, just across the street from the sign commemorating Stramka’s service, a street sign in honor of the late Howard Dunn, who died in 2015 at the age of 88.

A naval veteran who served in World War II, Dunn was a fixture in the neighborhood, working on behalf of veterans, the Boy Scouts and the American Legion.

Other street corners have been named in memory of late State Senator Christopher Mega (80th Street and 10th Avenue in Dyker Heights); Police Officer Moira Smith (74th Street and Fifth Avenue), who was killed trying to save lives when the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001; Charles Ahl, the first chair of CB 10 (Fifth Avenue and 80th Street); and Community Affairs Commissioner Rosemarie O’Keefe (Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway), among many others, including several victims of 9/11 who hailed from the neighborhood.

We think it’s only fitting that all of them should be permanently remembered, at street corners meaningful to their families. We also think it would be wonderful if someone could compile an easily-accessible directory, perhaps online, to the memorials so, as the years go by, not only their names but their lives will never be forgotten.


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