Community Board 7 honored retired FDNY firefighter and Board Chair Eugene Kelty for his contributions to the community at a holiday celebration Tuesday night.
Special guests included friends from community organizations and local elected officials such as state Sen. John Liu and Councilmen Paul Vallone and Peter Koo, who praised CB 7 for their hard work and dedication at Verdi’s, located at 149-58 Cross Island Pkwy. in Whitestone.
“To everyone, you guys are the guardian of the district and are the true stewards making sure that what is done is right in the community,” Vallone said. “This board works longer and harder handling more difficult issues, fairly, justly and expeditiously and with a lot of heart.”
It was also a fitting tribute for Kelty, who had the honor and privilege to witness the signing of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund signed into law by President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., earlier this year in July. Kelty was an advocate for the bill that will ensure compensation for individuals injured during the September 2001 terrorist attacks and their aftermath rescuing people and removing debris under hazardous conditions.
CB 7 gifted Kelty with three displays of his visit to the White House, created by Kevin Shields Sr., founder and CEO of eMerging iMage.
“I don’t know where I’m going to put it!” Kelty said. “This is really nice and I have to think about where I’m going to place it because it was a very nice honor being invited to the White House and meeting the president.”
A former Chief of the FDNY Battalion 10 in Manhattan, Kelty is one of many 9/11 first responders who helped saved lives on that fateful day when two airplanes crashed into the twin towers. In 2014, he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer caused by the fallout and dust at Ground Zero.
Today, Kelty is now in remission and in April 2020, he will be celebrating five years of being cancer-free, he said.
“I told him that’s when we’re going to have another celebration,” said Barbara McHugh of CB 7. “He is someone who is well deserving, and it means a lot to us because he’s a very caring person. He’s very passionate and has so much compassion for his community and he’s full of heart.”
As for the holiday celebration, it’s a time for everyone to come together and rejoice in the festivities.
“We talk about what happens during the course of the year and ending on a happy note where everyone can enjoy themselves and a camaraderie with each other, which is why we have this event after a meeting,” McHugh said. “It’s important for us so we can bring our spouses to this and invite other people to come in and join us.”