(Long Island, NY) Assemblyman Chad A. Lupinacci (R,C,I-South Huntington) honored 16 women from the 10th Assembly District last weekend during his annualWomen of Distinction event. Each honoree was presented with a New York State Assembly Proclamation and pin and recognized before a crowd of 200 of their peers.
“This event is about honoring truly outstanding women who demonstrate the very best of our community,” Lupinacci said. “Each one of them sets a high standard that we should all strive for in our daily lives. These women have made many valuable contributions to their professions, vocations and advocacy groups, and ultimately to our community.
Lupinacci with the recipients of the 2016 Women of Distinction award. Photo Credit: NYS.
“Here in New York, we have no shortage of women who leave a lasting impact on the pages of history. We hope the effort and impact of today’s honorees will be an inspiration to everyone. I would like to thank the event’s host, the South Huntington Public Library, for once again allowing us to use its space.”
Below are the 2016 Women of Distinction.
Patricia Bishop-Kelly – Patricia Bishop-Kelly attended SUNY Stony Brook school of social welfare and Hofstra University, where she earned her B.A. and certificate for non-profit administration, and she furthered her education at the National Catholic Education Association in D.C. and Gemological Institute of America in California. Patricia has served in many different professional capacities in the Long Island community over the years, primarily in the areas of social welfare and public health education. She began her career at the Nassau County Department of Social Services, working there from 1968 to 1986, and later worked as an adjunct at Hofstra School of Business Studies, Director of Advocacy for the American Cancer Society Long Island Division, and ended her professional years at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in 2010. Patricia is the loving wife of her husband, James, and wonderful mother to her son, James. Through her efforts in tobacco control and breast cancer awareness, Patricia has saved countless lives. She has received numerous awards for her service and prominent roles within her community, including the George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from Hofstra University, the Award for Excellence presented by the American Cancer Society on multiple occasions, and a Fellowship from the Advocacy Institute.
Mary Brenner – Mary Brenner, a resident of Huntington for over 60 years, has been an active member and role model in the community for decades. She is a member and past president of the Huntington Homemakers and a very active member of the Huntington Senior Citizens Club. Mary is a frequent speaker and shares her stories of growing up during the great depression and what life was like working as a machinist during World War II with students and groups of the community. Mary has served as an active member of the Huntington First Aid Squad for the past thirty-nine years, a certified EMT, dispatcher, dispatch trainer and co-chair of the fund drive committee. She also served on numerous committees throughout her tenure and held elected office as Captain in 1997. Mary is the mother of her son Mark and grandmother to Kevin, Pamela, Jeffrey, Ella, John, Cheryl, Lori and great grandmother of Natalie. Mary is a member of St. Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church where she is a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the church’s choir and Rosary Alter Society.
Sheila Buhse – Sheila Buhse, a lifelong resident of South Huntington, is a graduate of St. John’s University where she received a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. As a member of the South Huntington District Leadership Team, Sheila’s position as Business Purchasing Agent has proved invaluable. Her devotion to optimizing taxpayer dollars has provided a great benefit to students of the school district and garnered sponsorship and outside support for South Huntington School District programs. Sheila is the loving wife of her husband, Thomas, and the wonderful mother of two outstanding children, Patrick and Lauren. An Executive Board member in the South Huntington Education Foundation, Sheila helps raise funds, and generate community support and build relationships. She is the founder and organizer of Miles for Michael, a run in memory of her nephew, which raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for student programs. Shelia is a “doer and achiever” who commits the totality of her energies into every task and enhances the lives of each individual she encounters.
Ann Crocco – Ann Crocco is a dedicated nurse and the Director of the Medical Model Day Care at Carillon, where she selflessly cares for the needs of the disabled. Ann volunteers as a religious educator at St. Hugh of Lincoln Church in Huntington Station and is an extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, nourishing the souls of the faithful with the Body and Blood of Christ, bringing the Eucharist to the sick and disabled of the parish. A presenter in the Roman Catholic Initiation of Adults program, where she speaks about the sacraments and her faith, Ann helps those on their journey to become fully initiated into the Catholic Church. Ann is the devoted wife of Santo, mother of Lisa Hatton and Marisa Draser, mother-in-law of Gary Hatton and Paul Draser and grandmother of Amelia, Jake, Skylar and Madison. In 2014, Ann was honored with the St. Agnes Award from the Diocese of Rockville Centre for her outstanding contribution to St. Hugh Parish. She is willing to help anyone at any time, observing what is needed and stepping in to lend a hand.
Regina Caliendo – Regina Caliendo, a resident of Huntington since 1997, has become a crucial part of the South Huntington School District, currently finishing her seventh year as PTA President. Regina has also served as PTA President of Oakwood Primary Center, Birchwood Intermediate School and Silas Wood/ Stimson Middle School. After working in the banking industry with JP Morgan Chase for over a decade, Regina made a change in profession. Now a successful interior designer, she is the sole proprietor of Details by Design in Huntington. Regina is the loving wife of husband Robert and wonderful mother of son David. She is an intelligent, hardworking warm-hearted woman with a vision of making a difference in the lives of others. In 2014 Regina founded “Stand Up For Suzanne,” an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to further the advancement of breast cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The organization has raised over $20,000 to date.
Lisa Hock Mack – Lisa Hock Mack, a graduate of Cold Spring Harbor High School, also attended CW Post where she studied with Huntington artist Stan Brodsky before transferring to the University of New Hampshire. Lisa began her career by starting her own business, where she would work in large business commissions and portfolio counseling. Lisa moved west to California while continuing her passion of painting. Lisa eventually moved back to Huntington where she is now the director of Huntington Fine Arts, which her late husband John Mack created 45 years ago. A student of life and depicting its beauty, Lisa continues to impact the lives of the Huntington community’s young and flourishing artists by fostering and encouraging their talents and helping them find their individual voice to attain their dreams. Lisa is currently developing a not-for-profit to expand the creative venue of Huntington Fine Arts, provide tuition assistance to children in need, and allow them the opportunity to explore their creative intelligence in this chapter of their lives and the next.
Earline Johnson – Earline Johnson, a native of Huntington and daughter of Earl and Francena, attended Walt Whitman High School before moving upstate to Plattsburgh. After graduating from Plattsburgh High School, Earline attended SUNY Plattsburgh for two years before enlisting in the United States Air Force. Earline learned life skills and discipline during boot camp at Lakeland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. There she was trained in cryptographic maintenance, specializing in encoding voice and video data. Earline reached the rank of Staff Sergeant, serving in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Awarded multiple medals for her service, Earline served our country with honor. These medals include the Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal. An active member in the community, Earline volunteers as president of the Missionary at the Love of Christ Fellowship Church in Huntington, where she plays an integral part in the parish and is loved by all parishioners. Earline is also a Lifetime Member of the Nathan Hale VFW Post 1469.
Margaret Lawrence – Margaret Lawrence is an alumna of Bayside High School and Queens College. Her hard work and devotion to education enabled her to graduate from both of these institutions with honors. She is a successful author under the pen name Meg Harper Lawrence, and has written wonderful works, including: A Balm in Gilead; The Incident; Lost and Found; Rhyme Time for Kids; and Banana Moon and Other Stories. The mother of Nancy, Katherine, Diane, Carolyn and Robert, as well as grandmother of seven and great grandmother of six, Margaret’s journey through motherhood undoubtedly served as an inspiration for some of her works. An active participant in her local church, Margaret is an Elder and Member of Session at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn. Margaret is also a critical member of Hands on Huntington, an organization dedicated to giving back to the community. We are grateful for her commitment to assisting those in need and lending a hand whenever possible.
Marian Layer – Marian Layer, a lifelong resident of Huntington, is a graduate of Louisiana State University who distinguished herself as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army. As the longest acting commissioner to serve the youth of Huntington, Marian has been part of the St. Hugh Baseball and Softball League’s Board of Directors for 24 years, working to increase enrollment and expand the intramural and travel divisions. During Marian’s tenure as commissioner, she increased park availability, improved field conditions, updated uniforms and equipment, ensured safety, fostered the spirit of healthy competition, provided training for managers, coaches, players, and umpires, and was instrumental in opening concession stands at Terry Farrell Park and Peter Nelson Park. Marian is a devoted wife to George, and mother of George, Aileen, Tim and Patrick. Marian initiated the Challengers Division for athletes with special needs, enlisting the help of local middle and high school students to shadow the athletes during pre-game activities and scrimmages, and instituted events, such as Picture Day, Opening Day Parade, and A Day at Citi Field. She continues to make the Town of Huntington a happy and healthy place for a child to grow up.
Gabrielle Lindau – Gabrielle Lindau graduated from New School University where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Media. After completing her studies at New School University, Gabrielle pursued her Master of Arts in Communications at Graduate School Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Gabrielle is a successful multimedia specialist and board member of the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island, and serves as a director of sustainability marketing for Emerald Brand. She is also an award-winning International Filmmaker. Her works have been screened at illustrious events such as the Clermont-Ferrand, Cannes, and NYIIFVF. Gabrielle is the partner of Emily Bowers, her nominator. Gabrielle has been active in spreading the practice of arts and sustainable development. She was recently honored by the North Shore Hebrew Academy for her efforts to educate high school students. Gabrielle was also a guest speaker at the 2015 International Conference on Sustainable Development and over the years has uniquely expressed the importance of the arts as a means for communicating social and human rights issues.
Janine Probert – Janine Probert, a graduate of Walt Whitman High School, attended Farmingdale State College, where she majored in Liberal Arts; CW Post, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Management and Finance; Adelphi University, where she received her Master of Business; and Hofstra, where she graduated with an M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. Janine started her career in the banking industry, where she worked for over 13 years before changing professions and becoming a vocational counselor. Janine would go on to work in the field of rehabilitation and counseling for almost 20 years. She has been dedicated to working with individuals with various disabilities. Janine is the devoted wife of her husband, David, wonderful mother of her son, John, and loving sister to her siblings Jo-Anne, John and Lorraine. Janine volunteers during her free time at St. Vincent de Paul and St. Hugh’s Roman Catholic Church and has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America and continues to be a merit badge counselor and volunteers her time and knowledge in the endeavor to help others.
Jane Schubert – Jane Schubert, a longtime resident of Huntington and graduate of Hunter College, is the epitome of the Women of Distinction award due to her involvement in both civic and volunteer affairs. Beginning her career as a teacher in the South Bronx, Jane dedicated her time to serving a community in dire need. Educating our state’s youth was just the beginning, as Jane would also operate the S & S Locksmiths, Inc. family business. Both of these careers were secondary, though, as the primary concern for Jane was always her family. The mother of Ann Marie, Allison, and James, Jane prioritized instilling hard work and family values into her children, inspiring some of them to become teachers on their own. Upon moving to Huntington, Jane became involved with the St. Patrick School’s Parent Resource group, where she would hold numerous leadership positions. Jane is also an active participant in her church, serving as a Eucharist Minister with both the local congregation and the ill at Huntington Hospital.
Nanette Schubert – Nanette Schubert began her dental career at the age of 16 as a dental assistant, and is now a registered dental hygienist working in three dental offices on Long Island. She is passionate about what she does and enjoys working with patients and teaching them the importance of health and wellbeing. She has been recognized as RDH of the Year and has received the Healthy Gums Healthy Life award of distinction by RDH Magazine. But her professional life does not stop when she walks out of the office. Nanette has also helped numerous children and women through her involvement in “Give Kids a Smile” and “Give Back a Smile,” two programs that provide dental care for underprivileged children and survivors of domestic violence. Nanette is married to her loving husband Russell, and together they have raised their children Russell and Suzanne in their beautiful home. Over the years, Nanette has been involved in countless volunteer organizations throughout the community. She has served as president of the PTA of Otsego Schools and on the Half Hollow Hills PTA, president of the PTA council and PTA special education president. She is the treasurer of the not-for-profit Hills Foundation for Enhancement and Enrichment of Children, Inc., which provides vital financial support to the Half Hollow Hills School District. She is also active in the LIRHA Long Island Riding for the Handicapped, Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island and the Davit Syndrome Foundation.
Laci Wright – Laci Wright, a lifelong resident of South Huntington, is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she received her Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. After serving 13 years in the New York City Police Department as one of the city’s finest, Laci served as President of the Walt Whitman High School PTA and has been part of the Parent University Committee for the South Huntington School District since its inception. Laci is the proud mother of her son Kiandre. In her free time, Laci volunteers with the Walt Whitman High School Marching Band, participating in various school fundraisers and organizing her most recent event, “Operation Cinderella.” Laci was able to create a prom wear giveaway for the students of Huntington and the surrounding area in need of attire for their special night. Regina takes every opportunity to work for the youth in our community.
Pinky Vaghela – A native of Gujarat, India, Prafulba “Pinky” Vaghela is a graduate of local stewardship program Leadership Huntington. There, she learned to face the complex issues of our area. Between addressing crime and blight, promoting multiculturalism and civic activism, or supporting local businesses and not-for-profit organizations, her influence has extended to all areas of our town. Pinky began her career in the banking industry before becoming a self-employed business consultant and eventually founding the successful volunteer service network Y.A.C.S. This network is responsible for getting youth in the community to participate in volunteer work with the local area, helping students obtain internships with local businesses, working with not-for-profits, and developing youth seminars. Pinky is the loving wife of her husband Kenny and wonderful mother of her two children, her daughter Shradhadevi and her son Vishaldeep. Pinky is also active in her community’s local food pantries, volunteering at Island Harvest and GNK. She also is an important figure on several committees, serving as Chair of the Indian Association of Long Island and co-Chair of the Asian-American Cultural Festival of Long Island. Pinky is a tireless and hardworking volunteer who is always giving back to the community.
Nancy Wilson – Nancy Wilson graduated from Arcadia University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and special education and a minor in elementary education and reading. She also attended CW Post where she mastered in special education and the College of Saint Rose obtaining an SAS & SDA. Nancy is a dedicated professional and current Director for Special Education and Pupil Services for the Huntington School District, and is tasked with navigating the Special Education Parent Teacher Association. Referring to her students as “Kiddos,” Nancy has a firm belief that all children come first and every child can and will succeed. Nancy’s dedication and generosity are evident, as she also devotes countless hours to local charitable organizations. She is an annual participant in the “Polar Plunge” and a half marathon runner for the Ronald McDonald House, which raises money for the organization. Nancy also serves as liaison for the area’s local floor hockey tournament. Nancy’s dedication to Long Island’s youth has undoubtedly changed the lives of many children in need. The Huntington area is truly thankful to have an individual such as Nancy and will forever be grateful.