Charles Ober: Volunteer for the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp.

COMMUNITY INVOLVMENT: Charles Ober first volunteered for the local community patrol in Ridgewood in 1980; also volunteering for the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp. in an effort to get federal and state historic status for Ridgewood. He is the first vice president of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association after serving as president from 2008 until 2010.

“One of my greatest successes in community work was my leadership through the Queens Civic Congress, working with Councilmember Peter Vallone to get a graffiti nuisance abatement law passed in the city council in 2005,” said Ober. “The New York State Legislative Service called it one of the top ten laws enacted in the city that year.”

Ober served as president of the Ridgewood Democratic Club from 2004 through 2009 and is still on the board. He also serves on the board of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp., the Richmond Hill – Woodhaven Kiwanis and is treasurer of the Asian American New Land Community Center.

One of Ober’s greatest involvements is in the lesbian and gay community. Ober served on the board of Dignity New York from 1992 until 2001. In 1993, he was one of the co-founders of the Queens Pride parade and is first treasurer. He co-founded the Queens Pride House Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center board of directors in 1997 and is its longest continuously serving member; he served as its president from 1999 to 2008 and now serves as treasurer and volunteer CFO.

JOB: Ober has followed a career in building industry finance and controllership where he has served as controller for a construction company in Manhattan and currently serves as Vice President- Corporate Credit for Solco Plumbing Supply Inc., located in Brooklyn. “New York City is constantly building up and renovating and I am proud that I have a part in it.”

PERSONAL: Ober grew up in Hicksville, Long Island graduating from Holy Trinity High School and Marist College. He got a chance to visit a friend who was living in Glendale in 1980. While driving through Ridgewood he thought, “This is where I want to live.” He purchased a home there that year. In 1986, Ober graduated from St. John’s University with an M.B.A. Ober and his partner Benedicto met in 1999 and have been together for 11 years.

FAVORITE MEMORY: “I have to choose the memory of working with Angie Tantillo, past president of the Ridgewood Property Owners and 50 year resident of Ridgewood, on annual Ridgewood Oktoberfests.”

They worked together selling tickets and organizing tables for the annual event. She was a person who touched Ober for her direct, honest and sincere manner.

“For Angie, the event was about bringing people together in the community and there were few people she didn’t know. She was open and welcoming to everyone no matter what their background. She was someone who had great confidence in me and she inspired me to do my best.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: In 2008 Ober decided to run as a candidate in a special election for the 30th Council District.

“Though I had volunteered on some political campaigns, the challenge of putting together an organization and raising money in a couple of months was the biggest challenge I had ever been faced with.”

Ober continued to work full time while putting together his campaign, raising funds and campaigned until one week before Election Day. He stood up to run because he thought “someone with a strong current civic resume should be in the race and a number of people encouraged me to run for that very reason.” He had endorsements from the New York Times and although he didn’t win, he had no regrets and valued the experience of campaigning on the issues important to his community.

INSPIRATION: “My Christian faith inspires me to work for change for the better in society, fight against discrimination, work to improve our community and help people through my non-profit volunteer work.” – Laura Ciminera


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