Elected officials and civic leaders attend Kassenbrock Scholarship luncheon
On Sunday, March 11, the Bay Ridge Manor hosted a luncheon to raise money to support the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund. The money goes to help high school students preparing for college. Sixteen students were recipients of the grants, many of whom are graduates of Brooklyn high schools including Fort Hamilton, Edward R. Murrow, Fontbonne Hall Academy, Poly Prep and Xaverian.
The Kassenbrock fund honors the memory of Walter and Vincent Kassenbrock, two community leaders who founded the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) in 1951. Since its creation in 1972 the scholarship has awarded Bay Ridge students for their work in the community, academic excellence and leadership
The organization is composed of prominent civic, business and religious groups in the areas of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. This year’s event honored community leader David Ryan and the Bay Ridge Cares organization.
Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann helped present the awards. “I serve as assistant administrator to the fund, which last year provided more than $40,000 in scholarships for college that go directly to the student,” Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle. “And given the high cost of college today, to recognize community leadership and community service is very rewarding.
Beckmann and BRCC member Barbara Vellucci presented Ryan with the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund Community Appreciation Award.
Ryan, a decorated Iraq war veteran, was born and raised in Brooklyn and attended Xaverian High School and Brooklyn College. He is president of the 68th Precinct Community Council and executive secretary of the Kings County Conservative Party.
Vellucci also presented Karen Tadross with an award for her work on behalf of Bay Ridge Cares. Tadross, along with City Councilmember Justin Brannan, helped found the group. “When we formed Bay Ridge Cares we did it with the intent to make it just a little bit easier for people in our community who were going through some very difficult times and I think we managed to do that,” Tadross said.
“Bay Ridge Cares wants to change the culture of how we interact with our community. Apathy is long gone, let’s make room for empathy,” Tadross added.
Brannan said that one of the most bittersweet things for him being elected as a public official was resigning from the board of Bay Ridge Cares. “Karen and I and a few others started it and it’s pretty cool to be giving my first council citation to Bay Ridge Cares, a group I spent so much time with.”
Fran Vella-Marrone, vice chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, presented the organization with a certificate of special recognition on behalf of U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan. “I think it’s great that we have one great organization honoring another here today,” Vella-Marrone said. “That’s what makes our community so special.”
State Sen. Marty Golden congratulated the honorees and presented them with a certificate of excellence. “We’ve always been a small town in a big city,” Golden said. “Whether it’s the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Kassenbrocks, our BIDS, our festival groups on Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue or a whole host of different organizations that make up Bay Ridge.”
He called these groups the heartbeat of the community.
Also attending the luncheon were Gerald Kassar, chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party; community leader and Bay Ridge Community Council President Ralph Succar; civic activist Arlene Keating; attorney Mike Connors; The Guild for Exceptional Children President Paul Cassone and his wife Geraldine; Guild Board of Directors President Arlene Rutuelo; civic leader Anthony Testaverde; and former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile.
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