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Brooklyn Real Estate Board salutes civic leaders at annual holiday party

December 4, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: Walther Ochoa, owner and director of Right at Home health services, Bay Ridge Attorney and Honoree Robert Howe and Brian Chin, vice-president Northfield Bank. Eagle photos by Arthur De Gaeta
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Some of Bay Ridge’s most revered realtors gathered on Thursday night at the Rex Manor in Dyker Heights to recognize civic leaders within the community. The Brooklyn Real Estate Board (BREB) 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 Deborah Iemma of Empire State Realty Services. She thanked all the guests for attending before calling beloved real estate agent Dino Lamia to the podium. Lamia, a decorated World War II veteran who turns 96 on Dec. 5, is one of the longest serving members of BREB. All attendees stood to sing Lamia a heartfelt “Happy Birthday.”

Brian Chin, vice president of Northfield Bank, introduced Bay Ridge attorney Robert Howe and presented him with the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Law and Community Leadership. Howe is president of the Bay Ridge Merchants of Third Avenue and instrumental in the annual summer stroll events along the avenue.

“The Brooklyn aka Bay Ridge Real Estate Board is a great community organization,” said Chin. “The organization educates the community about real-estate matters. Congratulations to all the honorees. This is a wonderful time of year to celebrate and network with people in the real estate field.”

Honoree Julie Thum, associate broker and realtor at RE/MAX, was introduced by her husband Steve Thum. Steve humorously claimed credit for his wife’s real estate success when he said, “Julie was introduced to the industry in a non-traditional way when her husband quite fortuitously spotted a postcard on the floor stating, ‘You too can be a real estate agent,’ and handed it to her. I am happy to say that I was the one who found the postcard and launched her career.”

State Sen. Marty Golden attended the event and thanked BREB for all their efforts. “We go to a lot of organizations, a lot of events, but there are only a handful that really make a tremendous difference and your organization does that,” said Golden.

He congratulated the realtors on all the good work they are doing. “Brooklyn is continuing to go onward and upward and is leading this state when it comes to economic development and jobs. And that’s what we want, the housing for the people to live in our community.”

Golden cited large corporations like Google and Amazon saying that their business model is to open up in communities where the people live, adding, “And where better to do that than in Brooklyn, New York?”

“You name it, there is work, activity and jobs going on each and every day,” Golden said.

“And those are the homes that you are selling to the people who are going to live here. Our children no longer have to go to California or Texas to get a job. They can stay right here in New York and live right here in Brooklyn to get the jobs that they need.”

He implored BREB to maintain its success and keep on doing the work its doing. He ended by thanking the award recipients for all that they do within the community.

Other honorees included Dr. Joseph Caruana: Outstanding Family Doctor; Morris Esses: Top Bay Ridge Business Leader and Entrepreneur; Dr. Salvatore Pernice: Dedicated Veterinarian; Francis Reyes and Antoine Hitti: Outstanding Practice in the Field of Physical Therapy; and Rosemarie Sarno: Recognized for Excellence in the Retail Industry


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