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Bay Ridge Lawyers Association donates toys to Fort Hamilton Army base

December 20, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association got a chance to celebrate the holidays together at Encore in Bay Ridge on Thursday, and the group used the opportunity to collect toys for the children of the soldiers at the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison.

“They’re here every year, they’re our partners,” Stephen Chiano said of the Fort Hamilton soldiers in attendance. “They do everything for us. They protect us, obviously, they work for us. They’re here tonight to accept the gifts we brought to them tonight. What you do for us is beyond compare and we’re privileged to have you here with us tonight.”

Nearly 100 judges, lawyers and their families gathered at Encore for the party that included dinner and dancing. Each member brought a toy for the toy drive, which the soldiers in attendance then brought back to the base to be distributed for the children. Current President Stephen Spinelli made sure to give credit for starting the toy drive years ago.

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“Steve Chiano, when he was president, started this [program] in conjunction with Fort Hamilton,” Spinelli explained. “We invited a contingent from the fort — they come, they’re our guests. We love that they come to the party. These are warriors who protect us and are a part of this community. The members love it and they take the toys back to the fort.”

Spinelli also made a point to thank Andrea Bonina, Yolanda Guadagnoli, Jessica Elias and Joann Monaco for helping to organize the party.

“It’s been the most fabulous year of my legal career heading the Bay Ridge Lawyers,” Spinelli said. “Past presidents told me how enjoyable it is going to be. Words are nice, but when you are actually experiencing and having a wonderful time it is very nice.

“I’m glad that we can continue this holiday party tradition every year,” Spinelli continued. “It’s so nice to be able to spend time with each other outside of the courtroom and without CLE [Continuing Legal Education] and just enjoy each other’s company during this time of year.”


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