Larry Morrish was a beloved Bay Ridge community leader whose good works included over 40 years of civic service. He helped to preserve Fort Hamilton Army Base and worked with, and helped to support, veterans and members of the military and their families.
Morrish also helped organize parades and fundraisers, working with various religious groups, military personnel and medical centers. He helped found the Bay Ridge Ambulance Volunteer Organization (BRAVO), the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the early 1990s and the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force in 2000.
At the time of his death on Feb. 8, 2016, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called Morrish the “beating heart of Bay Ridge.”
On Friday, Nov. 2, the Kiwanis Club held its Third Annual Veterans Event at Redeemer St. John’s Lutheran Church at 939 83rd Street in Dyker Heights, to honor members of the community who work hard to support servicemen and women.
This year’s Larry Morrish Man of the Year was Edward Mafoud, owner of Damascus Bakeries. Mafoud, whose family business has been baking bread for 80 years, has followed in Morrish’s footsteps as a community leader. Mafoud is the chairperson of the St. Nicholas Home and a member of numerous civic organizations including the Salaam Club of New York.
The Larry Morrish Veteran of the Year honor was bestowed upon Frank Fazio, president of Liberty Kiwanis and the vice commander of the American Legion Department of New York.
The Unsung Hero Award was given to Sal Ferrera, a former educator and principal, and past president of Xaverian High School.
The Larry Morrish Woman of the Year Award was presented to Jessica Amato, a language arts teacher and community liaison at McKinley Intermediate School I.S. 259.
“Larry Morrish was an extraordinary man, whose passion reached everyone in our community in some way,” said Amato. “Therefore, receiving an award in his name is a humbling experience, and I was honored to accept it for my work connecting students with veterans at our school.”
Phillipa Morrish was thrilled that this event continues to honor her late husband’s memory. “Larry helped in galvanizing the community to support organizations that helped others and in particular to this event, he helped arrange for Christmas gifts for the children of service members at Fort Hamilton,” Morrish said.
The program started by Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights civic activist Penney Santo focused on holiday gifts for the teenage children of servicemen and women.
“I am extremely proud to keep Larry’s legacy alive as he had given so much to our community but has been a friend and family member to our family,” Santo said.
Morrish also thanked Kiwanis member Kathleen Nielsen and the Rev. Khader Khalilia for being instrumental in helping keep her husband’s spirit alive.
Khalilia, the pastor of Redeemer St. John’s, expressed his gratitude to Larry Morrish for his hard work in helping to bring unity among people of different religious and cultural backgrounds.
According to Morrish, a street will be named for her late husband at 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway. The dedication ceremony will take place in early spring 2019. Fittingly, it’s the street directly adjacent to the entrance to the Fort Hamilton Army Base.