Community service and volunteerism was the theme of the evening at the Bay Ridge Community Council’s 67th annual dinner dance. The organization hosted a room full of elected officials and civic leaders at the Bay Ridge Manor on Thursday, June 14.
Dinner dance Chairperson and Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) President Ralph Succar welcomed guests to the annual event, honoring this year’s Civic Award recipients Arlene Keating and Patrick Colabella.
Succar explained that BRCC was established in 1951 to promote the quality of life in the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.
Attending the event were state. Sen. Marty Golden, New York Conservative Party Chairperson Mike Long, Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairperson Gerard Kassar, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, City Councilmember Justin Brannan, Community 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, Fort Hamilton Army Base Commanding Officer Col. Peter Sicoli, 68th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Robert Conwell, attorneys Mike Connors, Bob Howe and Bob Rich, and Northfield Bank Vice President Brian Chin.
Rev. Msgr. John Maloney, pastor of Saint Anselm Catholic Church, offered the invocation before Colabella performed the national anthem.
“Ladies and gentlemen we have it all right here in this room,” Succar said. “We have our protectors, our representatives, our fighters. Everybody we need is here tonight.”
Succar said that his daughter Karina asked him not to forget to mention that June 14 was Flag Day, to explain why American flags were placed on every table. “Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag on June 14, 1777 by the resolution of the Second Continental Congress,” Succar said.
Sicoli received a round of applause when he added that June 14 “is not only Flag Day but it’s also the Army’s 223rd birthday.”
Succar presented the first Civic Award to Colabella, who has served as accountant for the BRCC for the last 10 years.
“The Civic Award is given out to people who really care about the community, who really go out of their way to make us proud,” Succar said. “And honestly Pat, I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more than you.”
The Brooklyn-born Colabella attended Xaverian High School, received his Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University and his Master’s degree in Taxation from Pace University. He joined the faculty at St. John’s in 1987 and is presently an associate professor. He received his doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2006.
Colabella has published numerous papers, articles and op-eds in newspapers and professional journals. He is also the author of the book How to Get Rid of Socialism and Solve the Fiscal Ills of the United States. He serves on a pro bono basis for IlluminArt Productions, the Bay Ridge Mental Health Council, the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund and the BRCC.
“This means everything to me,” an emotional Colabella said as he thanked the BRCC for honoring him.
The second civic award recipient Arlene Keating was introduced by Colleen Golden. She called Keating her best friend and said that she could call on her for anything at any time.
“She has done almost everything that Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights has been offering,” Golden said. “I think sometimes she works more than my husband.”
Bay Ridge-born-and-raised Keating attended Fort Hamilton High School and Staten Island Community College. She worked in the insurance business for 25 years and retired in 2002. She then joined the law firm of Connors and Sullivan where she spent 14 years as a senior legal assistant in the litigation and real estate departments.
Keating volunteers her time with the BRCC, the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Guild for Exceptional Children, the Narrows Community Theater, Holy Angels Catholic Academy and the Ragamuffin Parade Committee.
“I am deeply humbled to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” Keating said. “And to be included among the list of true pioneers who worked tirelessly over 60 some-odd years for the betterment of our beloved Bay Ridge.”
The evening concluded as a new slate of BRCC officers were installed and Succar was sworn in as BRCC president by Acting Supreme Court Judge Theresa Ciccotto.