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New York Community Hall Of Fame

 

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Community Hall of Fame

Alexander Stewart, Ithaca New York. Winning Benefactor: He is a boxing trainer in Ithaca, NY. Growing up he was a star pupil of the legendary Floyd Patterson and his amateur career while serving in the army was extremely impressive. While his pro career was cut short due to Lyme Disease, he has been very successful as a trainer, working with many highly ranked professional mixed martial artists as a part of the Bombsquad MMA team in Ithaca. But the element of his story that I think would have a broader appeal to your readership is his work as an advocate on behalf of autism awareness and research. He is the parent of a child with autism and recently published a children’s book on the subject. He is involved in organizing fundraising events for autism research and support. He is in general a very positive, upbeat person and really exemplifies the values your publication seems to be interested in. By Briggs Seekins

Allison Trdan, Ithaca, New York. Winning Teacher: A Kindergarten teacher in Ithaca NY  (my past home for 4 years). She has spent the past few summers traveling to Ghana to help build up an environmental education center, and when she comes home to her Ithaca kids, she incorporates her Ghana experiences into lessons. These kindergarteners can tell you what the kids their age do there and what environmental work they have helped support there through their fundraisers. Allison’s work is extraordinary and any parent you meet would express their absolute appreciation and admiration for working with their kids.By Rebecca Webster

Ann Marie Zon. Buffalo New York. Winning Samaritan: When Ann Marie Zon first visited Nicaragua about 30 years ago she hated it. However, she felt called to help the people of that country who were so desperately poor, so she returned as a lay missionary. When she returned home to Amherst (outside Buffalo) for a summer visit, she called upon friends and family to ask for donations of much needed goods. News of her missionary work spread quickly. Fast forward 30 years: Today people from all over western New York drop off tons of goods and a small army of volunteers sort and pack an entire tractor trailer of the goods to be sent to Nicaragua each Tuesday from early spring to late fall. By Christine Smyczynski

Anna Rhinebeck New York. Winning Citizen: She is 103 years young.  She is still positive, walking, playing cards, exercising and more. She attributes her longevity to good eats, exercise and keeping her mind sharp.   She is a Winner Within because she is a role model to senior citizens and everyone else with whom she comes in contact with. By Margie Licchiello

Catherine Flood, Guntersville, New York. Winning Citizen: Catherine spent a lot of time pursuing her passion but it has yet to be reached. She is a wonderful person with such desire to be a journalist. She does whatever she can to help her family and friends and others that she may not personally know. No one deserves acknowledgement for all they do or inspire to do more than her. By Tina Fralick

Claire Bryant New York, New York. Winning Benefactor: She is a renowned chamber musician affiliated with Carnegie Hall. One of the many things she and her friends have done is start prison outreach programs, bringing the gift of music to a population who too often are forgotten, dismissed, or otherwise marginalized. The results are pretty impressive — in fact, you may have seen a recent column by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker regarding the program. By Jim Tatum

Daisy Smythe, Schenectady New York. Winning Mother: Daisy is my local hero. She’s in her 70′s now. Along the way she raised thirty nine children, adopting some, fostering others. Many were not expected to go anywhere in life. She made sure the schools gave them a chance, instead of just dumping them in special needs classes. She fought for them in the schools. She received her Associates degree from a junior college at age sixty nine. I’ve helped her with an autistic child who was supposed to be “un-adoptable” and grow up in an institution. Instead, Javante, has had the experience of going to a regular school, playing sports and having friends. By Susannah Risley

Daniel Mathews, Van Etten, New York, Winning Father: Our family was homeless and it was hard for my Father to recall the last time luck had favored him, and that summer, one of the hottest and driest in over twenty years, he was in a race against time. We had nowhere to go, no roof over our heads, and he was trying to build us a home with whatever materials he could scrounge. He was down to his last hope, and it was his determination, his faith, his labor of love, that saved our family. That summer I learned what a true hero was. My Dad. My Hero. By Vickie Mathews

Erin Goodman, Central New York. Winning Samaritan. Readers Choice: A woman who quit her fulltime job to spend time helping people with their mental/physical health. She started her own small business and used her own self-ran studio and health education platforms to invest into the community. She has brought people from all over the central New York area together.” By Catherine Flood.

Jack Eschmann, Bellmore New York, Winning Citizen: My grandfather, Jack Eschmann, led an inspiring life that helped hundreds of people in his community, Bellmore, NY, and other Towns across Long Island.. Jack was propelled in his endeavors by a strong faith solidified when his life was saved by an unknown person after crashing his attempting to have his plane take off in the snow. After the war he became a Police officer who worked hard to take criminals off the street. But, he was not satisfied just locking them in prison; Jack’s belief in the goodness and potential of all of humanity led him to start Dismas House, a halfway house that some of the same people he had helped put behind bars, and the Anthony House, a place where he helped the homeless get back on track. Of all the good that Jack did for others, he always had love left for his family of eight children, twenty seven grandchildren and, at the time of his death, eight great-grandchildren. By Anthony McCabe

Jaszlynn Diop, Bronx New York. Winning Mother: Bullying is a serious issue in today’s world, and it is something that is often taken lightly, until it is too late…  Jaszlynn Is the Mother of 2 children, one of whom is being severely bullied in sch ool. At age 12, her daughter, Jumoke, who has a learning disability , is enduring ridicule from her peers calling her names, being slapped in the face by boys, getting her hair pulled by girls, and it went as far as her being attacked by a group of girls in front of her mother, as they were walking to the grocery store.  Jaszlynn said they are tormenting Jumoke for no reason and her daughter often stays up crying at night .  Jaszlynn is now taking matters into her own hands, undaunted by what the sacrifices might cost her. By Christy Luiso

Jonah Seeman, New York City (Manhattan) New York, Winner against the Odds: My brother in law has been a doorman on the upper east side of Manhattan for forty years. His parents were both holocaust survivors. He never married and still lives with and supports his 81 year old mother. He has a slight developmental disability which has never hindered his job performance. Yet, several years ago the management company where he > works started giving him a hard time. They found odd reasons to say he was inadequate. They changed protocols without informing him and said he was deficient at his job. His health began to fail; doctors told him to lose weight or have a heart attack. His mother was devastated. He went on a strict diet and within a year lost all of the weight. Still the management company continued to harass him. They began suspending him for of all things, bad breath. He felt he was about to be fired and filed a complaint with the union. His brother told the newspaper about his story. Soon the Associated Press and local TV stations picked it up. So did Newsweek. This morning he was on TV. The management company now treats him with respect. This good-natured and unassuming person is now reveling in his good fortune and newfound fame. Amazingly, his nightmare has become a dream come true. By Linda Seeman

Karalynn Payne, New Hartford New York. Winner against the Odds: Karalynn Payne was born seemingly “normal”. She didn’t develop like normal kids soon her parents discover that she had special needs. Here’s a girl who was told she would never walk and never be able to go to school. Whenever she heard someone tell her she would never, she struggled even harder to prove that she could do it. Because she believed in God. Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe Kara is a winner because she believed she could do it in the world of “she’ll never.” By Trina Petroski

Loretta Rivera, Ravena New York. Winning Parent: I feel she would make a winners within Because she is always there for anyone. She is 53 and her husband is with another woman, but Loretta is as happy as can be. She is always smiling and has that warm loving heart. Anything she can do for anyone, she will do. She has 4 children, which she takes care of, along with their children. Two of her children (37 and 28) live with her with their kids (17 and 18). She supports all these children and makes sure they go to school everyday and get done what they need to get done. She makes sure they’re fed and takes them school shopping for clothes and supplies every year with the little money she has. She is my Hero. By Makenszie Hart

Mark Andol, Elma, New York. Winners In Business: He is the proud owner of the “Made in America Store“.  He opened the store after losing his welding job.  Every item in his store is 100% American made all the way to the packaging.  This is his unique way of showing his patriotism and boosting our struggling economy.  I find it so interesting that after losing his job, which so many people can relate to, he has done something so original and successful. By Danielle Johnson

Nicole Adams, Syracuse, New York. Winner Against the Odds: Normal, healthy, 26-year-old Nicole Adams was lucky her second child survived after a brain tumor destroyed her motor skills during pregnancy. Now she is fighting to get out of her wheelchair and back into the arms of her two small children and dedicated husband. She refuses to accept the diagnosis and is determined to be back with her husband and two girls. Silently, she’s fighting to beat the odds. And so far, she’s winning. By Joleene Des Rosiers

Raymond Chapman, Waverly, New York. Winning Citizen: He lives at the Elderwood Nursing Facility in Waverly N.Y, and he is one of a kind. Just to meet him is an honor in itself. He told me once he was a descendent of John Chapman, the man who resides in American folklore as Johnny Appleseed. I have no facts and yet I believe him, because there was never a man that I know of who resembled him more. He walked this area planting good faith, kindness, hope, working silently among us and one day not knowing how to say thank you for the change we found in our lives we began to see him anew in the light of the true hero he is. By Vickie Matthews

Richard Brodsky, Atlantic Beach New York. Winning Benefactor: He is an HIV and brain cancer survivor, who runs in races to raise money for his foundation and relentlessly works to get others involved, including benefactors who contribute money and other items to doctors who treat children in Africa. Recent donations paid for two dinner/dances for 650 orphans in Kenya. By Jeffrey Besson

Romana Mattiola, Rochester, New York. Winning Benefactor: Arrived home from her honeymoon to the news that her parents had been in a deadly car accident. Since they had cared for psychiatric patients in their home fulltime, Romana and her new husband moved right in so the patients would not have to be displaced. The challenge proved too much for Romana’s husband and he left her.This would be considered a fulltime job to most, but Romana cheerfully works 2 part time jobs to make ends meet. What makes Romana so unique is that she does all of this with one of the most generous and joyful spirits I have ever known. By Dorothy Howe Kelly

Sam Borowski, Staten Island New York, Winning Artist: Sam is a talented independent film director, producer, and a gifted writer. His projects are winning numerous awards, gaining exposure, and generating a devoted following of fans. Having worked in journalism before making the career jump to the silver screen, Sam’s story is one of perseverance and ongoing success. By Lisa Buffington

Scotty Fura, Camillus New York, Winner against the Odds: This seven-year-old NY resident lost his right arm in an accident at the age of 2 ½. Some might look at Scotty as a sad story, however anyone who knows him knows he is anything but! Scotty plays football, baseball, soccer and wrestling as if he has no disability at all. Scotty and his mother Jennifer also wrote a book about how he find his own way in doing daily activities, appropriately titled “Scotty’s Way” to inspire everyone that with a little confidence and determination you can do anything! By Heather McAvan

Susan Rivers, Saratoga Sprints New York. Winning Merchant/Benefactor:  Susan hosts/owns the Niche Gallery/GreenTree Fiber Arts. The Niche Gallery hosts talented artists and each show benefits a different non-profit organization, such as Make a Wish Foundation and American Cancer Society. By Elizabeth Imondi

Wayne Brown. Buffalo New York. Winning Samaritan: When Wayne Brown was diagnosed with the rare medical condition known as acromegaly, he decided to be proactive in his care. However, he found that there were no support groups for people with this disease, so he founded the group Acromegaly Community, of which he is now Executive Director. This group helps acromegaly patients all over the world deal with the physical and emotional aspects of the disease. Brown recently authored the book “Alone in my Universe,” which tells the stories of a number of people with the disease and offers hope and support. By Christine Smyczynski

Yogesh Pathak, Tampa, Florida. Winner against the Odds: Yogesh received a diagnosis of Stage 4 kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs, pancreas, leg, spleen, skull and brain in June 2004. Despite being told he would be lucky to see Christmas, seven years and half years later, Yogesh is still fighting cancer, beating the odds and is in the process of creating The War On Cancer Foundation to provide a haven for other cancer victims and especially their families. Yogesh feels the caregivers need just as much help dealing with the diagnosis as the actual patient. He wants those facing a cancer diagnosis to know that he is living proof – there are exceptions to every statistic. By Deb Kelley