Eastern Brooklyn

Norwegian Christian home: 120 years and still going strong

November 2, 2023 Wayne Daren Schneiderman
From left: Arnold T. Oftedal, member, board of directors, Gala Committee, emcee; Christina Marino, director of development; Anthony J. Restaino, executive director; Tina Pappanastos, director of admissions; Anna Conigliaro, dietary supervisor.
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The Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center (NCHHC) made it known this past Thursday, Oct. 26, that there is significantly more to Norwegians than visions of horned helmets, longboats, and Nordic fighting men with swords and shields gleaming in the sun. 

There is care and compassion within the Norwegian community as well as in New York City, Arlene Rutuelo, NCHHC’s vice chairwoman, board of directors, told the Brooklyn Eagle

The 120th NCHHC anniversary gala, held at the El Caribe Country Club, demonstrated that caring for your fellow human, in addition to loving one’s community, is indeed paramount, and trumps even the European homeland’s most breathtaking beauty. 

“Of course we are looking to raise funds, but it’s mainly about building community, networking, getting people in the same room — and showing that you care for and about people,” Rutuelo said. “There’s a really good family feeling with the Norwegian Christian Home that transcends. 

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“Every year we celebrate with a gala. But every five years, we celebrate the bigger anniversary which started at 100. And we try to pick honorees who are influential — people based on the value that they’ve added to their surroundings.”

From left: George A. Jensen, chairman of the board; Lenny Tanzer, chairman of patient care associates; Anthony Restaino, executive director.
From left: George A. Jensen, chairman of the board; Lenny Tanzer, chairman of patient care associates; Anthony Restaino, executive director.

Honorees for 2023 included Rev. Monsignor David Cassato, vicar for Catholic Schools, who won the George and Amanda Hanson Humanitarian Award; Lenny Tanzer, chairman, patient care associates, who received the Business Partner Award; Victor Samuelsen, CEO of Samco Group, LLC, who took the award for Community Partner; and Jason Hagestad, NYPD Vikings Association, the winner of the Public Safety Community Award. 

“I have a lot of roots here; I grew up in Bay Ridge, and I used to work in the Norwegian Home some 25 years ago,” Hagestad said. “I even had two grandparents that were residents here. This is a wonderful thing to be a part of, and it’s truly a dream come true.” 

“I am humbled and grateful that the home has honored me as an immigrant from Norway 50-something years ago,” Samuelsen explained. “Being awarded today is an incredible milestone of what I have endured and accomplished in New York City. The Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center truly cares about people — and that is maybe the greatest tribute and testimonial to their organization.” 

According to NCHHC, its mission is “to provide residents with exceptional physical care, enhanced social services, and enrichment of their spiritual lives, all in a pleasant environment where their human dignity is preserved.”

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