Woodhaven group honors electeds

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It was all about the honorees, great food and good music at last week’s Greater Woodhaven Development Corp.’s 31st-annual dinner-dance at Le Cordon Bleu Caterers in Woodhaven.

The honorees included Man of the Year City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park); Woman of the Year Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village); Special Recognition Award recipient state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven); Businessman of the Year Mark Klimm, owner of Allstate Insurance of Woodhaven; and Business Owners of the Year the Labella family, owners of Walsh-Labella and Son Funeral Home.

Ulrich was surprised to get called the Man of the Year because he said everyone calls him the kid and now he is “the man.”

“I am 25 years old, not 19 as some still think I am,” Ulrich said. “I am already here for a year and I am just trying to do my job. There are so many great people behind me, but I want to especially thank my wife and my grandmother.”

GWDC Executive Director Maria Thomson presented all the awards to Ulrich and said it is all about voting for the person, not the party. Thomson said Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park and graduated from St. Frances College with a degree in political science.

Miller said Ulrich was always there when you needed him.

“When I needed something, I would always call Ulrich and I am proud to be his friend,” Miller said. “He has done a great job.”

As the song “She’s a Lady” played, Crowley walked up to the podium to accept her plaque, citations and proclamations from several politicians. In addition, she received a certificate of appreciation from Borough President Helen Marshall and flowers and a plaque from the GWDC.

Stephen Esposito, the GWDC president, said she was the first woman to represent the 31st Council District and she is the 14th out of 15 children in her family.

“I want to work to make my district strong and vibrant,” Crowley said. “One of the biggest projects underway in Woodhaven is painting the J train line, but the fight should also continue to keep Engine 294 open in Woodhaven.”

Esposito said Miller has advocated for affordable housing, is known for his anti-graffiti campaigns and was born to first-generation immigrants. He is always available no matter what time it is, Esposito added.

“I am trying to bring a different type of title to office,” Miller said. “If you have a problem and call me at 1 a.m., you will get me on the phone.”

Thomson said Klimm is also the first vice president of the Woodhaven Business District and he previously worked for the State Farm Insurance Co. She said he has been married for 20 years and has been in the community also for over 20 years.

Ozone Park resident Dottie Fennell said Klimm has been her insurance agent for 25 years. Fennell has been purchasing homeowner’s insurance from Klimm.

Thomson also said the Walsh-Labella funeral home was founded in 1954 and in 1964 it made Woodhaven its home on 87th Street.

“They have been very generous to the community,” Thomson said. “They are a real Woodhaven community family and so are all our honorees.”

Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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