Besides celebrating Queens during her State of the Borough address, Borough President Helen Marshall honored a special few whose spirit and dedication have made the borough a better and safer place to live.
Marshall reserved the end of her speech to recognize a handful of residents and workers who went above and beyond the call of duty this past year and one whose dedication 70 years ago helped protect the country.
Arno Heller, a 91-year-old volunteer in Marshall’s office, emigrated from Germany shortly before World War II and served for the U.S. Army during the global conflict. His service during that time earned him a Bronze Star, which he will receive shortly, more than a half century after serving the country. For his service, Heller was bestowed the Declaration of Honor from Marshall.
“What I did in the Army, a lot of people did a lot more,” Heller said. “I was just a small cog and I was glad to be able to fight for this country that gave me a home and a refuge in 1939.”
Other heroes who received the declaration from the borough president included: Firefighter Ronald Daly, a member of Rescue 4 in Woodside, who entered a raging home fire to rescue a man and his dog; Detectives Charles LoPresti and Richard Johnson, who captured the suspect in four fire bombings that took place in December; and Department of Sanitation workers Joseph Maneggio and Semi Nkozi, who while on duty saw five children and their mother on the roof of a house fire in Far Rockaway and caught each as they leapt from the burning building.
Mr. Met was also on hand to invite Maneggio and Nkozi to a Met game and give them gloves in honor of their life-saving catches.
“These acts are just a sample of the compassion and commitment you find on streets across our borough,” Marshall said.