The nearly two dozen individuals who received “Everyday Hero Awards” from the Kiwanis Club of Glendale at the St. Pancras School auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 20 seem to just be doing what comes naturally.
And stepping up to receive recognition at the annual ceremony to honor those who go out of their way to improve their community, they all apparently share another trait — a deep sense of humility.
Ada Bajlo, who speaks limited English, sobbed as she accepted her certificate of appreciation for her work with the Saint Pio Prayer Group.
Bajlo’s friend Francesca Ferraro, who had nominated her for the award, described her as “a wonderful person who works hard all year round. She is always there. She’s a lady who loves the Almighty. She sings in the choir. She’s been doing God’s work. She never says no, no matter what.”
And, according to Ferraro, Bajlo has been doing so for 25 years, adding, “It’s about time somebody honored her.”
For Marjorie Duperval, recognition came for her work with the Aktion Club, a Kiwanis program for adults with disabilities. A Direct Support person at Independence Residences, Inc., a facility that caters to individuals with various disabilities and impairments, Duperval tried to explain her approach.
“I have a lot of patience. I’m able to help people, to see how they feel. I do the best I can. I will continue to do the best I can to help them out,” the mother of five said.
Glendale resident Tom Reilly, who runs a plumbing business, has dedicated much of his life to helping young boys turn into respectable adults through his work with the Boy Scouts.
An Eagle Scout himself, he has guided two dozen others to that esteemed rank by serving as a volunteer Scoutmaster since 1996.
He was honored for being “dedicated and quiet about it” as he “touched the lives” of so many.
“A lot of other people should have their name on that plaque,” Reilly said. “I’m honored. I’m surprised. I do it because I enjoy it.”
Mary Parisen was singled out for her dedication to Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions.
“We’re suffering from diesel emissions,” she said. “We’re working to get legislation passed” that would restore the quality of life to the area being affected by the railroad.
Addressing a crowd of about 100 who had gathered for the event, Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), past president of the Glendale club, said, “This is my favorite event of the year,” as he helped give out the honors.
Others receiving awards were Ralph Casanova, for his work with at-risk youngsters; Fred Haller, for volunteer legal work; Arthur Mims, for his year of service as president of the Aktion Club; Mike Cody, commander of the 104 Precinct, for his 24-hour dedication to the neighborhood; George Reis, for his long-time dedication to the Kiwanis Club and the American Cancer Society; Angelica Harris, for her dedication in helping youngsters in the community learn to read; Joe Drago, for his help in renovating and painting Notre Dame Academy; Alex Maureau for his dedication in helping to clean up Glendale; Joe Aiello, for his help in saving a suicidal patient over the telephone; and the D’Elia family, for their dedicated work at the Kiwanis Garden on 88th Street.
“It’s important to recognize people doing good in the community,” said outgoing president Kenny Dunn. “They’re not doing it for recognition. They do it without recognizing that they’re doing it.”