Levittown Patch asked you for nominees for our Person (People) of the Year, and you responded. Here, below, is information on our nominees, who are listed in alphabetical order:
- Mauro Cassano: The immediate past president of the Levittown Community Council, who's been a member of the Levittown community for decades. Cassano served as chairperson of the Long Island South Central Kiwanis's work with the Long Island Alzheimer's Association (which culminated in a in September that raised over $1,000). He also worked to of Levittown on Earth Day with the Community Council.
- Polly Dwyer: A long-time Levittown resident, Dwyer is the president of the and . She has worked with the group since its inception. The group sponsored a for the third consecutive year in October. "If you only knew half the things on her plate and all she still manages to do for Levittown via the Levittown Historical Society," said vice president Paul Manton.
- Gina Interdonato/Esta Lachow: The two have helped the community in numerous ways this year. Interdonato was honored for her work with the , while Lachow was the president of the Levittown School District PTA through last school year. They were jointly nominated by board trustee Ed Powers for their role in the Levittown School District's Adopt-a-Family program, which gave away Christmas gifts to over 180 families in the district this holiday season. This is the third straight year that Interdonato and Lachow have run the program.
- The Island Trees boys soccer team: The team was successful on the field (they reached the County final), but they were nominated for their efforts to help coach Dan Haggerty, who was this year. The team to the Haggerty family each time they scored a goal this season. They also helped decorate Coach Haggerty's house for the Christmas holiday. "They dedicated their season and their time to try and help Mr. Haggerty however they could," said head coach Graham Radcliffe. "To make an impact on a person fighting for life and throwing away selfish goals was unforgettable to see and be a part of."
- Bob Koenig: Former editor Nina Ruggiero dubbed Koenig "" in a profile written last October. Koenig is the new president of the Community Council and donates a lot of time to the Levittown Historical Society. A long-time musician, Koenig wrote an album with songs about Levittown, titled "Abbey Lane," in 2007. He performed at the Levittown Community Church's this year. "I do not live in Levittown, but am aware of his many contributions," said Beth Laughlin. "I think he is one of the best (if not THE BEST) representative of Levittown."
- Mike Pappas: A former New York City police officer, Pappas is a former president of Levittown North Little League and is the current president of the Levittown School Board. "His passion and commitment to the district have resulted in taxpayers having better accountability, newer technology and, most importantly, direct communication with our elected officials," said resident Kathleen Vaughan Ware. "He is a terrific role model for our community."
- Rickie Santer: As a 21-year-old, Santer has already won over 20 awards for his community service to the Levittown area, including a Daily Point of Light from President George W. Bush in 2007. Santer served as the Governor of the New York State Circle K this past year, where he made significant efforts to raise money for a cure for . Among the long list of causes he's contributed to include chartering the West Hempstead Atkion Club, which assists disabled adults who live in a group home. Santer traveled with the Kiwanis Club to to tornado victims in and ran programs for the New York State Safe Kids Coalition. "Rickie has certainly been recognized in many ways for his community service," said Kiwanis Club president Ann Torcivia. "He has received international awards, national awards and state awards yet somehow his hometown has yet to recognize him," said Levittown Kiwanis President Ann Torcivia, who wrote a four-page letter nominating Santer. "I ask that you correct this oversight."
- Ann Torcivia: The current Kiwanis Club president and a past president of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, Torcivia is involved in numerous community projects. The Kiwanis Club stored the supplies they donated to Joplin in her house before sending them, and she went down with the convoy to donate them. She works to raise money for the , established in honor of her son Joey, who died at the age of six-and-a-half. The foundation purchased a a remote-controlled, voice-activated bicycle that teaches children progressive safety techniques while riding. Through her travel agency, Friends Travel, Torcivia organizes free trips for under-privileged groups like the Special Olympics. ("[The agency] spends more time organizing trips and cruises as fundraisers for charitable organizations than it does making bookings for private clients," said Joseph Cohen.) Cohen also noted her assistance of her 88-year-old neighbor for 15 to 20 hours each week. "Anyone who knows Ann knows her commitment to special and charitable causes, as well as her sense of morality," he said.
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