Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge Community Council recognizes 2018 Hidden Treasures Award winners

March 2, 2018 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
2018 Bay Ridge Community Council Hidden Treasures honorees. Eagle photos by Arthur De Gaeta

The Bay Ridge Community Council presented nine civic leaders and The Bay Ridge Center with their annual Hidden Treasures award. They were recognized for their efforts working behind the scenes to help make their community a better place to live.

Ralph Succar, president of the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) hosted the event on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road.

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 in Southwest Brooklyn.

BRCC’s Civic Affairs Committee, led by former BRCC presidents Alexander Conti and Dean Rasinya, selected the winners and coordinated the awards ceremony.

The Hidden Treasures Award, which was established by BRCC in 2004, was created to recognize people who have given their time, talent and support to the community over the years, according to Conti.

The council’s membership consists of civic organizations, PTAs, church groups and nonprofits.

The 2018 Hidden Treasures award winners are: Antonio La Fata, The Guild for Exceptional Children; Bobby Daquara, Greenhouse Cafe; Shirley Chin, Girl Scout Leader at St. Anselm; John Alexander, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church;

Alice Gibaldi, Mary Koren and Frances Koren, The Columbiettes of Archbishop John Hughes #481; David Matthews, Owl’s Head Park Horticulture Group of the Shore Road Parks Conservancy; The Bay Ridge Center; and David Whitebook, Bay Ridge Community Council.

In accepting his award, Daquara said that he organizes blood drives every two months at the Greenhouse Cafe in memory of his daughter Haley, who was 9 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. “She passed away five years ago to the day and we decided to name the blood drive ‘Haley’s Comet’ to bring people together . . . schools, people from the restaurant, customers and a lot of community members.” Daquara added that each blood donation can save three lives and they will have their 50th drive in June, when they will have saved up to 6,500 lives.

Chin expressed her love for scouting. “I love scouting so much,” Chin said.  “I started my community service when my son started kindergarten and he’s now 20 years old . . . I always told my kids you have to love what you do and you will be very happy.

Former BRCC president and Fort Hamilton High School math teacher David Whitebook was recognized for his community service and illustrious teaching career which spanned from 1966 to 1990. “I was assigned to teach at Fort Hamilton and basically for the next 50 some-odd years I’ve had things to do with Bay Ridge and it’s really been my good fortune and good luck to be able to interact with this community because it’s a beautiful place, mainly because of the people here are very beautiful people.”

Honorees were also presented with proclamations and citations from representatives for elected officials including U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilmember Justin Brannan.