Eight accomplished women from the Town of Oyster Bay were recognized for wide-ranging achievements in education, the arts and civic affairs Tuesday night.
The held its 13th annual Awards at Town Hall Tuesday.
“Sometimes the best role models are the ones you find in your own backyard,” said . “Oyster Bay is not a wonderful place to live by accident…it’s thanks to people like the women here tonight.”
He also thanked the awards committee, chaired by Maureen Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Department of Community and Youth Services.
Amy Driscoll: A resident of Locust Valley, Amy was named a Distinguished Woman in the Arts largely for her work to preserve Locust Valley’s history. Introduced by Councilwoman Beth Faughnan, Driscoll led the campaign to save the famous “Matinecock Indian” portrait from leaving the community when the bank where it was housed was sold. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Locust Valley Public Library and the Library Development Committee. She also holds the position of secretary of the Locust Valley Historical Society.
Patricia Orzano: A Massapequa native, Orzano received the Distinguished Woman in Business Award, presented by Town Clerk Steven Labriola. A small business owner in Massapequa, she has been active in the Chamber of Commerce where she now serves as first vice president. “When people in Massapequa are in need, you’ll find Pat and her family,” said Labriola. She is active in several charitable organizations as well, among them Toys for Tots, Island Harvest, and Easter Seals. Orzano talked about the importance of local government working with small business, saying, “Small businesses want to be a part of every aspect, but they don’t always have the resources, or the time, so having the support and recognition of local government is so important.”
Stephanie Sokenis: Living and working in Hicksville, Sokenis was awarded her citation as a Distinguished Woman in Community and Civic Affairs by Councilman Joseph Muscarella. He called her, “The person no one notices” because she’s always behind the scenes making things happen. An active member of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, she previously served as Executive Director and led a membership drive to grow the organization, which the Long Island Press recently named as a Best Chamber of Commerce on the Island. She also coordinated the Hicksville Farmers Market for its first year and organizes Chamber of Commerce events, especially street fairs and seasonal festivals like the Annual Fall Festival.
Karen Landau: Working in Massapequa for 43 years as a teacher, Landau was presented with the Distinguished Woman in Education Award by Supervisor Venditto. An English Language Arts teacher in the Massapequa School District, she held the nickname “Queen of Grammar”, a title given by her beloved students. In addition to being a passionate and dedicated teacher for so many years, she was actively involved in several extracurricular activities like SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and was the eighth grade advisor, organizing events for the class like trips and their annual Moving Up Dance. Landau has also been an adjunct professor of English at SUNY Old Westbury since 1996.
Elisabeth Fiteni: Beth, as she is known, received the award for Distinguished Woman in Government from Receiver of Taxes James Stefanich for her work as an environmentalist for the town. An adjunct professor and program director at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, Fiteni is also the coordinator of the Clean Energy Task Force. Thanks to her efforts with the Task Force, an Energy Star construction code is now in place in 10 of the town’s municipalities. She has run the Annual Organic Turf Trade Show for nine years and often lectures on organic lawn maintenance.
Dr. Kathleen Feeley: Feeley was honored with the Distinguished Woman in Heath Services Award, presented by Councilman Joseph Pinto, who in an emotional moment, explained that his experiences as a parent of a child with disabilities made him appreciate Dr. Feeley’s work even more. She is the director of the Center for Community Inclusion at C.W. Post University, which works to support and encourage individuals with disabilities to participate fully in society. She also created early intervention programs for children with Autism disorders and Down Syndrome and publishes often on the topic.
Terrie Magro: A Hicksville resident, Magro received the Distinguished Woman Humanitarian Award from Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia for her work on behalf of families struggling with childhood cancer and other diseases. Following the death of her son from Leukemia at age 13, Terrie co-founded the Michael Magro Foundation, which provides support, resources, and education to families of pediatric cancer patients and survivors. To date, the foundation has raised over $300,000 through fundraisers and events coordinated by Terrie.
Katharine Gallardo: Living in Syosset, Gallardo was presented the Award for Distinguished Woman Volunteer by Councilman Anthony Macagnone for the numerous charitable organizations she has been involved with. For years she worked for charities including the Make a Wish Foundation, the Leukemia Society, and the Town of Oyster Bay Soldier Collection Drive. Following her , she increased her work, organizing everything from blood and marrow drives to fundraisers like yard sales. Her daughter, who was present at the ceremony, provided an emotional moment when she ran up and hugged her mother as she accepted her award.
Following the presentation, Venditto invited past recipients of the award in attendance to stand and be recognized. Each commented how special the award was and how it only spurred them to further work on behalf of the Oyster Bay community.