Quiet community stalwart snags Civic Award

April 4, 2013 Helen Klein
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James McHugh, a born-and-bred Ridgeite who has dedicated himself to a host of community endeavors, has been named as the Bay Ridge Community Council’s Civic Award winner for 2013.

McHugh — who now lives in Staten Island, though you wouldn’t know it for the amount of time he spends on this side of the bridge — is a quiet force in the community.

A past president of the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, he is currently president of the St. Patrick Society of Brooklyn, as well as being a member of the executive board of the Brooklyn Council Boys Scouts of America, an advisory board member of the Bay Ridge Senior Center, a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a committee member of the Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst/Dyker Heights Relay for Life, and a member of the Bayfort Association, the Colonial Club and the 12:30 Club.

And, that’s not all. McHugh – who was Ragamuffin’s Man of the Year in 2009 as well as the recipient of P.S./I.S. 104’s Brotherhood Award in 2008 — also coaches CYO basketball for Our Lady of Good Counsel and baseball for the Snug Harbor Little League (both in Staten Island), and is a den leader for Our Lady of Good Council’s Cub Scouts Pack 77.

Looking ahead, McHugh – whose day job is as group director and senior vice president of Signature Bank — will be on the board of the newly-formed St. Anselm Catholic Academy. Looking back, he formerly served as an advisory board member for St. Anselm and St. Patrick Schools, as well as for the Fifth Avenue BID. McHugh was also formerly on the board of Governors for Daytop Village.

“I’m humbled by it,” McHugh said of the award. “I thought it was very nice even being considered. Finding out I am receiving it is an honor not just for me but for my family.”

Indeed, McHugh credits family with inspiring him to try to make a difference. “My parents got me to be involved,” he recalled. The family wasn’t rich in material goods, he said, “But we had the best life because we had fun, we had family.”

McHugh originally started out working on Wall Street. When he and his wife wanted to start a family, though, he changed careers, he said, a move that brought him back to the neighborhood where he grew up. With that, McHugh went on, “I noticed an opportunity to get involved, coming to work, just reconnecting with people.”

That’s no surprise. “What other neighborhood has so many organizations that come together?” he asked. “This is a diverse community that comes together and celebrates being a solid community.”

In his activism, McHugh represents much of what BRCC has been practicing for decades. “Jim has been involved in the community for many years,” pointed out BRCC’s Civic Award Committee Chair Alex Conti. “He is well deserving of this.”

BRCC President Renee Dorsa agreed. “We are honored to have Jim as our Civic Award winner,” she noted. “He does so much for the community.”

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