Woodhaven block group honors community leaders

By Debbie Cohen

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association recently celebrated its 37th annual dinner⁄dance at Villa Russo Catering Hall in Richmond Hill, honoring City Councilman Anthony Como (R−Middle Village) as Man of the Year, Ignazio Terranova from the city Sanitation Department as Community Service Man of the Year and Franklin K. Lane High School ROTC leader Chief Master Sergeant Jose Silveira.

Silveira was also saluted for serving in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years. WRBA President Vance Barbour and Third Vice−President Maria Thomson handed out several proclamations and citations to the honorees.

“Como was a hometown boy raised in Ridgewood, Queens, and aided [state] Sen. Serphin Maltese (R−Glendale) as community representative by the age of 32 and has attended Hofstra University School of Law and was admitted in the New York state bar in 2001,” Thomson said.

Como has been serving the district for a short time and recently lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Crowley, who will take over the position in January 2009. He said that he has had a great team behind him, including his new wife, Tiziana. In the near future, Como said, he would like to run again for the seat.

Proclamations and citations were given to all the honorees from Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D−Howard Beach), state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D−Howard Beach), Maltese, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills), City Comptroller Bill Thompson and the WRBA.

Terranova, the citywide community affairs officer with the Sanitation Department, said he was honored that he was picked to receive awards. He started with the agency in 1999 as a sanitation worker assigned to Harlem. He said he does what he does best and informs and educates the public on all aspects of the department. Pheffer also made a point to say that there are now increased fines for violating the “pooper−scooper law.”

As for Silveira, he “is a patriot, a veteran and a man dedicated to his community,” said Thomson. “He came to the United States from Cuba in the early 1960s and has formed the ROTC program 14 years ago at Franklin K. Lane High School to offer young people self−esteem and discipline.”

He also served as a senior aerospace science instructor in the Air Force ROTC Unit. Silveira feels that the greatest dangers facing our country now are problems facing our youth. He felt he could really make a difference at the high school and that the young lives there were in desperate need of guidance. Silveira has two daughters and has been married for 35 years.

“It has been a team effort at Lane High School and I love teaching young people,” Silveira said. “I love this country and it is my priority to educate young people and help them build character.”

One of Silveira’s greatest moments in the Air Force was when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviets were defeated because it meant freedom. He said he was proud of the accomplishments that our high school cadets have achieved.

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