Bay Ridge

St. Nicholas Home hosts annual board of directors Christmas banquet

Elected officials, clergy and civic leaders attend celebration

December 8, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: John Alexander, state Sen. Marty Golden, Walter Ochoa and Brian Chin. Eagle photos by Arthur De Gaeta
Share this:

The St. Nicholas Home, a nonprofit interdenominational residence for elderly individuals in Bay Ridge, hosted its annual board of directors’ Christmas Banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

The event brought out several elected officials, civic leaders and members of the clergy to help raise funds for the home located at 425 Ovington Ave.

Elected Officials attending were state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. Civic leaders at the event included Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Simon Shamoun, Northfield Bank President Brian Chin; Right at Home Health Care Services owner Walter Ochoa; attorneys Joe Elhilow and Bob Rich, John Abi-Habib and George Jalinos.

Members of the clergy present were the Very Rev. Thomas Zain of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, the Rev. Antoine Rizk of the Church of the Virgin Mary and the Rev. Khader El-Yateem of the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge.

The St. Nicholas Home opened its doors in 1982. It was the dream of the late retired Rev. Gregory Abboud of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral on State Street to build a residence for elderly people in the Arab-American community. Abboud died in 1978, but not before he signed the contract to purchase the old Bay Ridge Hospital. Along with Richard Zarick and his wife Florence, the property was secured and Abboud’s dream became a reality.

Edward Mafoud, chairman of the St. Nicholas Home board of directors, welcomed the guests and introduced Golden. Golden congratulated all those in attendance for helping to make the community as strong as it is.

He mentioned changes in local nursing and assisted living facilities and said that as a result, “St. Nicholas Home goes up in priority here in our community and we want to see St. Nicholas Home continue to grow and build under the leadership of Ed Mafoud. And hopefully we will have the ability to keep our aging community here in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park.”

Golden thanked the clergy for all their services and singled out Aida Nicolaou, a member of the St. Nicholas Home Women’s Auxiliary since 1985, for special recognition.

In his remarks, Mafoud mentioned that the St. Nicholas Home has been serving the community for 35 years and currently has 70 residents. “We would not be here if it were not for the community that we have here in front of us,” said Mafoud.

He explained that Abboud brought together the clergy, the political leaders at the time and the people of the neighborhood to fulfill his dream, which was a mission to serve the elderly population of the community. Abboud was able to encourage the civic leaders to join together and purchase the building, which was formerly Bay Ridge Hospital.

“Abboud’s dream was realized when we opened our doors in 1982,” said Mafoud. “He was able to convince a lot of people to donate money and as they donated their money, he was able to convince them to also donate their time.”

Mafoud spoke about how members of the community helped support the home by volunteering and doing whatever was needed to serve the elderly population. “If they needed to paint the walls, they’d paint the walls. If they needed to make a bed, they’d make a bed. If they needed to scrub the floors, they scrubbed the floors. And that’s what I see when I see St. Nicholas Home. And to this day we have people still do these wonderful things.”

He concluded by calling the founders’ mission a legacy and promised “to continue to provide for the well-being and safe-keeping of what they put in our hands.”

Malliotakis thanked the board for the wonderful work they do. “Many of the people living here don’t have a family and we are their family so we must continue to support St. Nicholas Home and its mission for all that they do,” she said.

Gentile, who is leaving the City Council at the end of the year due to term limits, ended the evening on a lighter note.

“Ed, you do such a good job here. Do you take early reservations?”

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment