by Anna Gustafson Senior Editor
Calling small business owners the backbone of South Queens, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation honored the mom and pop shopkeepers, as well as area civic leaders, at its 33rd annual spring gala last Friday.
The GWDC held the affair, named the “Everlasting Spring” dinner dance, which included live music and a buffet, at Cordon Bleu Caterers on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.
The group named Robert Castelli, a Woodhaven podiatrist, Man of the Year, and Debra Hoffer, director of field operations at the Catholic Charities Senior Citizen Center, Woman of the Year.
Michael Brennan, of Mike’s Pub, was honored as the Business Owner of the Year, and Jaime Illescas, owner of the new Tropical Restaurant, was named the Businessman of the Year. A special recognition award was given to St. Luke’s Nursery School.
GWDC Vice President Paul Rudolph, left, President Steve Esposito, Business Owner of the Year Michael Brennan, Businessman of the Year Jaime Illescas, Woman of the Year Debra Hoffer, Man of the Year Robert Castelli, Judith Graves of St. Luke’s Nursery School and GWDC Executive Director Maria Thomson at the annual spring gala last week.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr., left, GWDC President Steve Esposito, GWDC Executive Director Maria Thomson, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Assemblyman Mike Miller attend the dinner dance.
Laurie Illescas, whose father, Jaime Illescas, was named Businessman of the Year, performs the national anthem.
Guests enjoyed a buffet at Cordon Bleu, as well as live music, during the spring gala.
Cordon Bleu Caterers in Woodhaven was packed with hundreds of people for Friday’s event.
World War II veteran Julius Castelli, left, Korean War veteran Raymond Conord, and Vietnam veterans Arthur Schulz and Paul Rudolph sing the national anthem.
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