While police officers killed in the line of duty often get commemoration plaques in the precinct where they worked, its unusual for civilians to have the same honor bestowed upon their memory. Then again there have not been many civilians who have given back to their community like the late Ben Gluck, Joe (Papa Yussie) Silverman and Marsha Edell. Thus, several dozen residents, and elected and police officials came to the recent 70th Precinct Community Council meeting for the unveiling of a plaque in their memory that is now hanging in the stationhouse. All three were very active with the community council, community boards and civic organizations. Edell, who was also well known for her work with the Nottingham Civic Association, died last month at 77. Silverman died in 2007 at 95 and Gluck died in 2004 at 94. These three were really special people, said City Councilmember Michael Nelson. Marsha just kept the Nottingham group together and she would be on top of you to join, and she was sweet with kissing and hugging. There was nobody like her. Ben Gluck and I go back to go back to when I worked for the then Congressman [now Senator] Chuck Schumer and he was such an overall gentleman. He would go to court to make sure people got what they had coming to them, but he did it in a gentlemanly way and really in a decent manner. He was really a decent man. And Papa Yussie was a terrific individual who received a lot of love tonight. He was one of the guys with the guts he must have been around 80 that during the Korean store boycott on Church Avenue walked past all those protestors and he said, These are my neighborhood store people and they dont deserve this, and he went in, bought fruit and walked out. He was a gutsy guy. The idea behind the plaque, which has space for other civilian names to be added at a future date came from Chaim Deutsch, the founder and president of the Flatbush Shomrim, a voluntary security patrol. I just felt that like any cop that gets killed in the line of duty or someone else whos very involved with the police department and gets killed, someone who gives their life and time by joining the community council should also be honored, said Deutsch. Deutsch noted Silverman for many years put together the 70th Precinct Community Council newsletter and rarely missed a meeting. Ben Gluck was also very active and vocal, and Marsha Edell was a fighter for the community, and when she fought for something, she usually got it done, he said. Inspector Tom Harris, the 70th Precinct commanding officer, said the precinct is a text book example of how police and the community work together. We truly work in partnership with the community to reduce crime and improve the quality of life. The community has always been there for us and this is one little expression for us to be there for the community, said Harris. Marsha, Ben and Joe all gave of themselves and its only fitting that they be memorialized in the 70th precinct. So when people walk in they will see that people coming from the community are very important to us and that they are not forgotten, he added. Before the unveiling, about a dozen people were called to the podium and told tales how the three had helped them through community situations and had made them feel welcome. This is a tremendous tribute for my father and the other two who I didnt know, said Joe Silvermans son, Don. I know that my father worked for the community and what he believed in. He fought for freedom and that everybody should work and be allowed to be their own person. He was never afraid, he added. The one sad note on the night was that it was announced that another longtime community councilmember, Hinda Schneiweiss, had also passed away on the night of the event. Harris said her name will probably be the first one added to the roll call on the plaque. Finally the plaque was unveiled and Community Council President Ed Powell read from it and in tribute to people who have made a difference in the lives of others by devoting themselves to the quality of life, and well being of the community at large. Their caring and devotion does not go unrecognized and they will always be remembered in our hearts and memories as loving and giving members of the 70th Precinct Community Council.
©2008 Community News Group
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