It was a night fit for a king!
Hundreds gathered at Staten Island’s elegant Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Avenue, as over 20 men were honored at Star Network’s annual “Kings of Staten Island” event.
The event, held on Wednesday, May 10, gave attendees opportunities to network, fundraise, and acknowledge and celebrate each other’s work and accolades.
“I love to bring recognition to people who make a difference in their communities and every one of you tonight has made a difference,” Victoria Schneps, Schneps Communications/Star Network co-owner, told the honorees. “It is our honor and our pleasure to honor you and let you and the community know how much you are appreciated.”
This year’s Kings of Staten Island were Joseph Maffeo (Posthumous Community Valor Award recipient); Robert DeFalco (Owner, Robert DeFalco Realty/S.I. Mortgage Group, Inc. and Excellence in Real Estate Award recipient); Lawrence Ambrosino (Owner, Residential Home Funding); Steve Argentine (Owner, All Boro Maintenance); Anthony “AJ” Basile (Financial Specialist, National Financial Network); Peter Botros (Chef/Owner, Stone House Restaurant); Barry Crupi (Co-Owner/Barry’s Auto); Theodore Ericson (Executive Director and Founder, Crossroads Unlimited, Inc.); Robert Fanuzzi, Ph.D. (Associate Provost & Director of Civic Engagement, St. John’s University); Howard Farber (Second Vice President/Branch Manager, Richmond County Savings Bank); Bobby Giurintano (Key Account Manager, TGI Office Automation); Gurdev Singh Kang (Cultural Society, Richmond Hill); Steven J. Korkowski (President/CEO, Sweetbrook Nursery & Garden Center); Matthew Langella (AVP/Branch Manager, Investors Bank); Frank P. Lettera (Managing Director, Hanley Funeral Home); Brian Licata (Deputy Director of Workforce Development, United Activities Unlimited); Dominick Mancino (Actor, Screen Actors Guild); Brian McGowan (Director of Marketing, Casandra Properties); Frank Morano (Radio Host, AM 970 The Answer); George Joseph Passariello (Co-owner/Chief Technology Officer/The VON Agency); Nicholas Pesce (Owner, La Bella Market Place); Anthony Rapacciuolo (Partner, PRcision LLC); Michael Scarimbolo (Branch Manager, Advisors Mortgage Group LLC ); and Will Smith (President/Operating Partner, Staten Island Yankees).
Along with a VIP reception, cocktail hour and ceremony, the event debuted a special award, the Joseph Maffeo Community Valor Award, sponsored by Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health, which was accepted by Linda and Keith Manfredi, founders of the Joseph Maffeo Foundation. Maffeo was a firefighter for Ladder 101, who lost his life on September 11, 2001.
Manfredi and her husband Keith started the foundation to improve the community and commemorate him. “My brother was a very unique and giving man,” she said. “Because of his work during his short years of life, my husband and I try to take a proactive approach in life felt it was important to keep his legacy alive.”
Linda and Keith were presented with the First Annual Joseph Maffeo Award as singer Danny Rodriguez dedicated a performance of “Proud to be an American” to them. “I’d like to thank Vicki for being such a great role model for all of us in this community,” Linda added, as she acknowledged all the other recipients for their contribution to the community. “It’s really the community at large that affords us the opportunity to build a foundation and its mission of truly making a difference and making the world a better place. I’d like to congratulate all of you. Whether you do it for children, adults, or community at large, it’s people like you who truly make a difference and allow our youth to see who they need to be and who they need to emulate in future generations.”
One hundred percent of the raffle proceeds went to the foundation.
The Kings who attended were thrilled to be a part of the evening.
“When you look around the room and see some of the past honorees, it’s definitely a humbling experience and honor to be here with these gentlemen,” said Langella. “I was born and raised here. When you live on Staten Island, you see a lot of grassroots organizations like Michael’s Cause and Emergency Children’s Help Organization, and to be able to give back and help those organizations be successful means a lot to me and the island.”
“It’s an honor to be nominated with this group of fellows who have been in business for years and people that are at the peak of their profession,” added Licata. “For me, this is kind of a new experience. I’ve only been doing this for the last few years. Overall, it’s great that someone actually thought enough to put me in this class.”
“It’s a great honor to be a part of Star Network and receive this award,” Scarimbolo said. “You work very hard to get where you have to go in life within business and the community. Networking is part of that, and to receive this award and be recognized for all the hard work you put in is a great honor.”
Exhibitors were also delighted.
“It’s a great event that’s honoring great people on the island,” said George Chicolo III, director of business development and partnerships for the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to be here and be a sponsor. We are really happy for all of the honorees. They’ve all done great work for the community. Staten Island is such a small, tight knit community and everybody treats each other like family. A lot of these people have done great things for the community.”
“We are here to honor all the Kings and it’s a great place to get our name out as a bank,” added First Vice President of Empire State Bank Jeanne Sarno. “It’s always a great turn-out and we love to support it. We’ve been a part of these events from the beginning.”
During the award ceremony, each honoree got to walk down the red carpet to receive his trophy. NY1 News anchor Natalie Duddridge served as the event’s emcee.
This year’s sponsors were Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health, Investors Bank, Empire State Bank, Richmond County Savings Bank, JetBlue, Broadway Stages, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and Medcast Plus.