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Bay Ridge Civic Groups Join Forces to Help Deliver Turkeys to Fort Hamilton Army Base

On Mon., Nov. 19, the Rotary Club of Verrazano and the Salaam Club of New York joined forces to help distribute 100 turkeys to the families of soldiers at the Fort Hamilton Army Base.

Rotary Club member Ralph Succar, along with Rotary Club President Enrico Ferrara and club members Vincent Nativo, Michael Icobucci and Joseph Speziale handed out the turkeys with Salaam Club President Joseph Avignone and club member and community leader John Abi-Habib.

Succar explained the Rotary Club’s motto is “Service Above Self.”

“That means it’s all about the service that we provide for others,” he said. “It’s not about us.”

Ferrara called the turkey distribution, “Just a little token of our appreciation for all that the service members do in keeping us safe.”

Nativo echoed Ferrara’s sentiments. “We come out and give turkeys to soldiers because this our way to say thank you for their service and for protecting us,” Nativo said. “Fort Hamilton is the perfect place to be in Brooklyn and the Rotary is a Brooklyn-based club and we like to donate and give back the way they’ve been giving to us for many, many years.”

“We’ve been enjoying this partnership with the Fort Hamilton Army Base for as long as I can remember,” Abi-Habib said. “On behalf of our president and the entire board of the Salaam Club, we are so proud of you and we are behind you 100 percent.”

Fort Hamilton Army Base Chaplain Maj. Bruce Duty said he was thankful for the Rotary and Salaam Clubs. “They invest their lives in Fort Hamilton families and we appreciate their support.”

Fort Hamilton Commanding Officer Col. Andrew Zieseniss said he

was impressed by the strong sense of community he’s discovered in Bay Ridge.

“We live in a community that’s incredibly supportive,” Zieseniss told this paper. “Sometimes you lose sight of that when you’re on a military installation where you have walls and fences and gates, and there’s almost a degree of separation between the community and the installation where you live. But it’s things like this that help draw us much closer together. This is by far one of the most supportive communities that I’ve ever lived in.”

The Rotary Club of Verrazano is one of more than 30,000 Rotary Clubs in 160 countries worldwide. It works to help feed the hungry, procure open-heart surgeries for children overseas and support a variety of local projects.

The Salaam Club was founded 71 years ago by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants in Bay Ridge as a fraternity of men of Middle Eastern descent. In 1994, the Salaam Club Community Fund was established to benefit local organizations such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the St. Nicholas Home and the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge.

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