When former Congressman Steve Israel began the Global Institute at Long Island University, he brought national and international speakers to the campus. One of them was former President George W. Bush, and I was privileged to be there to hear the 43rd President speak to an audience only weeks before his father died.
He was asked about the “loss of civility” at the White House, and Bush quickly responded that our country is blessed with great people who show each other many acts of kindness, but that no one reports it.
That evening, I emailed all my editors in Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx and told them that I wanted to publish regularly our readers’ many “Acts of Kindness.”
This week, I’m sharing the story of LeFrak City resident George Onuorah, who is a former “King of Queens,” and we’ve honored him for his work with nonprofit group, When in Need (WIN) Foundation, along with the foundation’s leader, Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton. George has served in multiple leadership organizations and received recognition from many groups.
He called me two weeks ago and informed me that the children attending his Corona church each year received toys from a nearby business — but that business wouldn’t be able to donate them this year. Could I help?
So to the rescue came my newly expanded staff from Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and Long Island.
We put out the call and, within days, new toys came piling in; even Assemblyman Ed Braunstein brought toys that he had collected.
I called George back and reported we had collected enough toys for the 70 children in his congregation.
His “Act of Kindness” engulfed us all and activated the kindness and generosity of my staff and community members.
George told us that the kids would be at the LeFrak City Library on Dec. 14, and I was so proud that Alan Seltzer, our majestic 6 foot, 5 inch tall production manager extraordinaire, volunteered to dress up as Santa Claus for the occasion.
Business builder and sales leader Brian Kelly turned his SUV into a “toymobile,” and with Brian Rice, our sales manager, delivered them to the library.
When the children arrived, their faces lit up with joy — they got to talk to Santa and then take a toy from the overflowing toy table. There were so many smiles on the mothers’ faces and ecstasy on the children’s faces, it warmed my heart.
It was my second day of joyous toy giveaways.
The day before, my dear friend Juliana Terian continued a terrific tradition begun by her late husband Peter to give a party for needy children who live near their Rallye Motors in Roslyn, Long Island.
The Roslyn fire truck rolled into the Mercedes dealership bringing Santa Claus (Victor Cosmos, an employee and volunteer firefighter) to the gleeful children. With smiles as bright as the sun, they wrapped their arms around him to the music of the DJ, who had created a party atmosphere with music as the kids delightfully danced.
Paulie, a 38-year employee of Rallye, worked since Labor Day coordinating with the Roslyn schools to find the toys that the children had wished for (they were all identified by the school as being in the poverty level).
The dealership was overflowing with bikes, huge dolls, trucks and more, all tagged with each child’s name! The entire Rallye staff had shown their kindness by donating their time and money to make so many children happy.
Yes, “Acts of Kindness” are all around us, and I’m of the belief that by giving, I’m getting back so much more — and most of all it feels so good!
Share your Act of Kindness with me by emailing [email protected]. It’s never better than now!
I want to share this last thought with you: Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. — Buddha