Activists share Civic Award winner title for 2012

April 9, 2012 Helen Klein
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Two longtime community leaders have been chosen as the Bay Ridge Community Council’s civic award winners for 2012.

The organization has selected William Guarinello and the Reverend Khader El-Yateem. “You look for leaders to step up, and we appreciate not only the impact that Reverend El-Yateem and William Guarinello have had on their own community but the inspiration they provide to others,” noted Irene Hanvey, the chairperson of BRCC’s Civic Award Committee.

Both men volunteer their time generously.

Guarinello – the president and CEO of HeartShare Human Services of New York – is the chairperson of Community Board 11, as well as of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee and Brooklyn Remembers, which worked to put up the monument to those lost on 9/11 on the 69th Street Pier. He also was the chairperson of the board of the now-defunct Victory Memorial Hospital.

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El-Yateem, the founder in 1998 of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, which he serves as pastor, is a member of Community Board 10, and is on the board of St. Nicholas Home, the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Arab American Association.

The honor is greatly appreciated, said El-Yateem. “I came to this great community 17 years ago,” he recalled. “I fell in love with it because it is very well organized and the people are very civic-minded. I saw a great opportunity to be involved, participate and give back.

“What makes the community great,” he added, “is people like you who give of your own time to make the community a great one for everyone.”

What both men do, they do for love of the community, added Guarinello, who noted, “I have a good co-pilot in Pastor El-Yateem.”

The awards will be presented at BRCC’s annual dinner dance, to be held this year at El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin on June 7, beginning at 7 p.m.

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