Two community stalwarts were in the spotlight on Thursday, June 1 as the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) hosted its yearly dinner dance, celebrating 66 years of local activism.
Ilene Sacco, the current first vice president of BRCC and a former BRCC and 68th Precinct Community Council president, and Arthur Aidala, managing partner at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins and immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, received the group’s annual Civic Awards during the gala event, held at the Rex Manor, 1100 60th Street.
BRCC’s Civic Awards, said current President Ralph Succar, are “Given out to people who really care about the community,” and both Aidala and Sacco fit the bill.
“Arthur’s happiness,” said his sister Lori Bambina, “comes from making everyone else happy. With Arthur, you don’t get 100 percent. You get 200 percent.”
“The one word to describe Ilene is selfless,” noted Deputy Inspector Raymond Festino, the former commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, who recalled once mentioning to her that one of the precinct Explorers had no furniture in his home. She immediately began a campaign, he recounted, which resulted in the apartment being furnished. “I mentioned one little thing to her and she went out and got this done. I’m proud to call her friend.”
Both do what they do for love of the community and its residents. “I love our neighborhood,” noted Aidala. “It’s a special place,” an opinion with which Sacco concurred, telling the crowd.
“We all work together,” she remarked. “It’s what makes the community great. We do it because we care, because we want the neighborhood to be a better place. We do it because that’s who we are.”
Besides the presentation of the Civic Awards, the gala also highlighted the swearing-in by the Honorable Theresa Ciccotto of this year’s officers and board members, including Succar as president, Sacco as first vice president, Janet Gounis as second vice president, Nick Nikolopoulos as treasurer, Robert Kassenbrock as executive secretary, Joanna Succar as recording secretary, Josephine Giammarino as corresponding secretary, Eileen Potter as historian and Jane Kelly as parliamentarian.
Among those present to celebrate the occasion were New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Acting Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, State Senator Marty Golden, City Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Colonel Peter Sicoli, the commander of Fort Hamilton Army Base.