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Brooklyn Real Estate Board honors community leaders at annual holiday party

Distinguished guests present awards to this year’s honorees

December 2, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Event host Deborah Iemma of Empire State Realty. Photo by John Alexander
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It wasn’t just about real estate at this year’s annual Brooklyn Real Estate Board’s (BREB) gala holiday celebration, held Thursday night at the Rex Manor at 1100 60th Street. The evening presented awards to a distinguished group of well-deserving honorees – civic activists, lawyers, educators, religious leaders, and, yes, realtors, from all parts of the borough.

The evening was hosted by Aldo and Deborah Iemma of Empire State Realty Services. Deborah thanked all past honorees for attending, adding, “We have attorneys from the areas of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and from all over Brooklyn. We have bankers and other community leaders here tonight, and I thank you all for joining us.”

Iemma then called beloved real estate agent Dino Lamia to the podium. Lamia, a decorated WW II veteran who will turn 95 on Dec. 5, is one of the longest serving members of the BREB. All attendees stood to sing Lamia a heartfelt “Happy Birthday.”

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Real estate agent Margaret Ranieri introduced the Pearl Room restaurant’s Anthony Rinaldi with the Top Bay Ridge Business Leader & Entrepreneur award. Ranieri praised Rinaldi saying, “The very best that Manhattan’s fine dining has to offer is now at the Pearl Room in Brooklyn.” Fran Vella-Marrone of Dyker Civic presented the award to Rinaldi on behalf of Congressman Dan Donovan, who was in Washington, D.C.

Julie Thum, real estate associate at RE/MAX Metro, presented the Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Law and Community Leadership award to Joanne Seminara, ESQ. of Grimaldi & Yeung, LLP. She noted that Seminara has been practicing law for three decades and is the author of the book “5@55,” about the five essential legal documents people need by age 55.

Seminara is currently an elected Democratic State committee member and executive committee member of the Brooklyn Democratic party. She spoke about how proud she was to serve the community and praised her father, renowned attorney Joseph Seminara, for teaching her everything she knows.

Tom Neve, of Reaching-Out Community Services, was named Humanitarian of the Year. Neve’s organization is involved in Food Pantry programs to feed the hungry, as well as spearheading toy drives for children. Reaching-Out Community Services currently serves 7,608 families.

Other honorees include:

Carlos Raldierez of Mr. C’s Cycles: Outstanding Entrepreneur and Business Development

Michael M. Menicucci, Esq. of Menicucci Villa Cilmi, PLLC.: Outstanding Achievement in the Practice of Law

Diane J. Picucci of P.S. 48 Mapleton: Outstanding Principal of the Year

Brooklyn Chinese American Association, Paul P. Mak, President: Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Innovation in Providing Services to the Community

Cynthia Felix Jefers, Assistant Superintendent-CSD 14: Exemplary Educational Leader and Innovator

Father Mina K. Yanni, Founder-Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George: Dedicated Spiritual Leadership and Exemplary Community Service

Roy A. Hastic, Sr., President, CEO and Founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Improvement and Development, was in the hospital and unable to attend the event.

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