By Dee Richard
Believe it or not, but we’re now in the month of May, usually a busy, fun month. This May is shaping up to be no less than the previous one.
Thursday was the 17th Awards and Recognition Dinner at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria. The Queens Flag Day Committee was established in 1994 by John Farrell Sr. His objective was to honor people of Queens who served beyond the call of duty to the point where some even made the supreme sacrifice. Queens Flag Day is not a national holiday, but a special day on which the members of the Queens Flag Day Committee honor the men and women of the uniform services who put their lives in harm’s way to protect us.
The dinner was well-attended, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Ram Ramanathan, the national anthem was sung by Spc. Melissa Molfettas, the invocation was performed by Capt. Francis D. Bonadonna, the playing of taps was performed by Frank Staiano and “Amazing Grace” was sung by the Mook Yang Presbyterian Church Choir.
The committee presented its Military, Public Service, and Memorial awards. The Military Award was presented to U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Alexander P. Kitsakos by Col. Peter J. Sammarco. The city Sanitation Public Service Award was presented to D.I. Steven Sokolowski by Nicholas Vero, the FDNY Public Service Award was presented to D.C. James Di Domenico by Capt. Michael McLaughlin. The NYPD Public Service Award was presented to D.I. Thomas Pilkington by D.I. Scott Hanover. The John J. Farrell Sr. Memorial Award was presented to Queens businessman Frank C. Macchio and was presented by Anthony Civitano.
Two of the original special benefactors who were with John Farrell Sr. since the inception of the Queens Flag Day Committee were Bruce Bendell of Major Chevrolet and Anthony M. Corbisiero Sr. of Riccardo’s.
On Friday evening, I received an invitation from the American Chinese Women’s Association of New York from Ethel Chen, who was elected this year’s president. The installation of new officers was administered by Judge Randall Eng, the first elected Chinese judge. State Sen. Toby Stavisky delivered greetings and presented citation certificates to the board members. The new board members are Chin Mei Lee, Nina Wang, Christina Tsai, Julie Wang, Bonnie Lin, Julia Chan, Lilly Lee, Xiao Nin Fan and Kuo Fung Tsao.
It was also a birthday celebration for Amy and Simon Chen’s son Edwin. Happy birthday, Edwin! Ethel Chen told us her son James Wu’s wife, attorney Chea Chen Ha, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Sabrina April 28 at Lenox Hill Hospital. Mom, Dad, Baby and grandma Ethel are all doing fine.
I am not a particular aficionado of Chinese cuisine, but I must say the food and service provided by Tung-Yi Fung Seafood Restaurant on 37th Avenue in Flushing was among the best I have eaten. If you like Chinese food, do not hesitate to check it out.
Congratulations to Ethel on being elected president and the birth of her first grandchild. Thank you for inviting me to such a lovely event.
On Sunday evening, I drove over to Il Bacco’s in Little Neck to buy Jim Rodgers a drink for his birthday, which was this week. Jim is the CEO of the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade. That parade has been one of the largest and longest-running Memorial Day parades in America. Jim has been managing the parade for the past 10 years.
Jim said the 2011 parade will be one of the biggest and best so far. He hopes everyone will come out and show support for our veterans and those who died.
The 84th-annual Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for May 30 at 2 p.m. The grand marshal is Maj. Gen. Waif, the commanding general of the 99th RSC. Tony Vacarro, a world-renowned photographer best known for his World War II photos published in Life, will receive a special Patriot Award. Joe Oppedisano will be this year’s Man of the Year. Joe, as most of you know, is the proprietor of II Bacco in Little Neck. This year’s Douglas MacKay Community Award recipient is John Duane. John is a lifelong Queens resident and community activist.
This column will keep you up-to-date on the art and essay contest awards as well as the planned fund-raising dinner to try to offset some of the many expenses incurred to produce a parade of this magnitude.
I look forward to receiving your voicemails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.
Till next week, Dee.