BY ROSS BELSKY
Background: John Spagnuolo, 46, lives in Howard Beach, where he was born and raised. He loves the no-nonsense character of the town, and flourishes among his neighbors who are genuine and never mince words. The fact that Queens has continued to prosper culturally through both good and hard times keeps him and his wife of 21 years proud to raise their son and daughter in the borough.
Occupation: Spagnuolo is the vice president and store manager of the TD Waterhouse Bank at 162-02 Crossbay Blvd. He joined the bank when the branch opened, basing his decision partly on its sparkling reputation regarding civil outreach, such as its involvement in the Hurricane Sandy relief.
Community Involvement: The Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach was founded in 1962 and offers guidance to community youth through projects such as the Key Club and the Builders Club. Spagnuolo has been a member for three years and was elected president in October. The club comprises 55 volunteers who pay membership dues that go toward initiatives including Project Eliminate, which supports sufferers of pediatric tetanus, and the Silver Shield Foundation which, in conjunction with the Kiwanis Club, will help pay the college tuition for the children of the recently assassinated policemen. Their involvement with the Lindenwood Volunteer Ambulette Service saw them donate defibrillators directly. Spagnuolo discovered the club when he started working at the bank down the block from the club’s meeting place, Lenny’s Clam Bar. He also devotes time as chairman of the board at local St. Helen’s Church, where he teaches kids the importance of hard work without shortcuts, and leads them in writing letters to troops in Afghanistan.
Greatest Achievement: “Providing a stable home life for my family in increasingly tough times, while teaching children to love what they do, and yet still finding the time to help those in need,” said Spagnuolo. “It feels awesome and rewarding to have an impact on the old hometown.”
Biggest Challenge: “Juggling responsibilities between managing the branch, leading Kiwanis and being chairman at St. Helens,” he said. “Plus, of course, keeping time for family.”
Inspiration: “My father is number one,” he said. “He came to America with nothing and worked seven days a week to send me and my three siblings to the college of our choice. To this day he looks to help me out and still preaches the value of honesty.”