Star of Brooklyn: Lenny Fogel

December 6, 2013 Jaime DeJesus
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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The vice president of the United Canarsie South Civic Association, 84-year-old Lenny Fogel has played a dynamic role in helping the community of Canarsie. Yet with all his accolades and achievements, he remains humble. “There are people that don’t do much and they still pound on their chest,” he remarked. “I don’t do that. Action speaks louder than words. I don’t have to say what I’m going to do.”

One of Fogel’s proudest and more recent achievement was the creation of a new state-of-the -art skate park in Canarsie, which was built on June of 2012. The park is dedicated to in-line skating as well as skateboarding and biking. Fogel was inspired by the idea while at a local gas station.

“I noticed kids skating at a gas station around corner from my house. I asked them what they were doing because it was dangerous and the kids could get hit,” said Fogel. “I asked them why they couldn’t just go to the park. They said that there weren’t any nearby.”

He then discussed the need for a park with Councilmember Lewis Fidler. He immediately agreed to Fogel’s idea. “It took some time but he got the funding up for it,” Fogel recalled.

Although there were some delays, that didn’t stop Fogel from pursuing the park. “They said we expedited this because you really got on our case,” he said.

Fogel has also put a stop to the burning of all kinds of junk and cleaned up the area.

In November, he was named Man of The Year by the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club. “It was quite a surprise to me,” Fogel remarked. “My son came with his wife and my two granddaughters from Florida.”

CAREER: Fogel served in the Army from 1951-1953 during the Korean War. He was sent to North Korea for seven months and eventually evacuated back to Japan. Once he was honorably discharged, he became a member of Jewish War and Korean War Veterans.

PERSONAL LIFE: Fogel was born in 1929 in East New York. “I moved around when I was younger,” he recalled. He attended P.S. 235 in Flatbush and P.S. 80 in Coney Island. During World War II, he attended Mark Twain Junior High, then Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades where he received his Vocational Diploma. He then received his regular diploma at New Utrecht.

His wife, Manuela, cofounded the United Ocean Park Civic Association.

MOTIVATION: Fogel attributes his giving and humble nature to his parents. “They were great and loving parents who always owned stores but never asked us to help them, but we did anyway.”

He also gets pure joy out of helping. “You can’t really put it into words. It’s gratifying. You take pride and fulfillment in doing right thing and helping a person that had problem and lifting that burden off their shoulders.”

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