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East Elmhurst remembers local hero who brought much needed relief to neighbors during COVID-19 pandemic

East Elmhurst remembers local hero
Family and friends of Marguerite Henderson celebrate the co-naming of an East Elmhurst street in her honor. (Courtesy of Moya;’s office)

Generations of East Elmhurst and Corona residents turned out Saturday, Aug. 6, to honor local hero Marguerite Henderson who risked her own health and ultimately her life during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilman Francisco Moya and Henderson’s family and friends unveiled a new sign marking Marguerite Henderson Way on the corner of 96th Street and 30th Avenue.

Known for her combative style, Henderson was praised as a second mother to many who grew up on 96th Street. A pillar and caretaker of the neighborhood, she became a one-woman beacon of hope when so many in the community faced food insecurity and uncertainty while at the epicenter of New York City’s public health crisis.

Community members gather to honor local hero, Marguerite Henderson. (Photo courtesy of Moya’s office)

“When we talk about true heroes in New York City, Marguerite Henderson was one of them,” Moya said. “She was the mother of our East Elmhurst neighborhood and this was evident by her love and dedication to this community — to anyone that needed her support and all those she served at the First Baptist Church food pantry. I am grateful to her mother Virginia Pore and her children for allowing us to celebrate and honor this extraordinary woman. Marguerite Henderson Way will forever serve as a symbol of dedication and love.”

Photo courtesy of Moya’s office.

Born Marguerite Ursel Pore on Aug. 7, 1958, Henderson grew up in East Elmhurst and attended PS 127, IS 145 and Newtown High School before graduating from LaGuardia Community College. She became a Trustee of the First Baptist Church and ran the food pantry and distribution events. Even when she became ill, she could still be found working late into the night to feed thousands in the community before she passed away on July 19, 2021.

“Marguerite was a woman who labored in love for family, church, and community,” First Baptist Church Pastor Patrick Young said. “She personified dedication and devotion. Anytime anyone walking through this neighborhood looks up at Marguerite Henderson Way will know that this represents a woman who left footprints in so many lives. We will always remember and celebrate her.”

Her mother Virginia Pore marveled that “my daughter’s name is on a street in New York, the capital of the world.”

“It is an honor to look up and see the street our mother spent most of her life on, co-named Marguerite Henderson Way,” said Henderson’s children Altonia, LaToya, DeNae, and Brianne. “East Elmhurst was her first and final home. She loved her community. Serving her community was a priority she took much pride in. Our family is eternally grateful to Councilman Moya for this huge honor. This neighborhood, this block — 96th Street will forever miss the infectious smile, bold demeanor and vibrant attitude of our beloved mother. May her legacy live forever.”

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