Family of slain soldier honored by Qns GOP club

TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Photo gallery

U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (l.) greets three-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez and his mother Jessica during the Queens Village Republican Club's annual Lincoln Day Dinner. The Gonzalez family was presented with the Ultimate Sacrifice Award because Isaiah's father Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzalez of South Ozone Park was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. Photo by Christina Santucci
Isaiah Gonzalez, 3, walks hand-in-hand with his mother Jessica and Queens Village Republican Club member Claude Antonine to the podium to accept the Ultimate Sacrifice Award. Isaiah's father, Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzalez, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. Photo by Christina Santucci
Queens Village Republican Club President Philip Sica (r.) presents the award to Joe King, the owner of Antun's Caterers in Queens Village. Photo by Christina Santucci
Queens Village Republican Club President Philip Sica (l.) greets (l.-r.) former state Sen. Frank Padavan, U.S. Rep. Bob Turner and Councilman Daniel Halloran. Photo by Christina Santucci
Councilman Daniel Halloran (l.) presents a City Council citation to Patty DeCiccio-Franke, president of the Oratorio Society of Queens, and David Close, the Oratorio Society's artistic director and conductor. Photo by Christina Santucci
Grace Colucci (r.), fron the executive committee of the COnservative Society for Action, greets Queens Village Republican Club President Philip Sica (l.) and U.S. Rep. Bob Turner. Photo by Christina Santucci
Stephen LoGiudice (c.) of Whitestone accepts the Businessman of the Year Award from Queens Village Republican Club leaders - Chairman of the Board James Trent (l.) and President Philip Sica - on behalf of Gaby's Pizzeria in Hollis. Photo by Christina Santucci

The Queens Village Republican Club’s annual dinner may have been named for Abraham Lincoln, but it was a child with a different biblical name who commandeered the attention of the crowd this year.

Isaiah Gonzalez, the 3-year-old son of Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzalez who was killed in Afghanistan, walked hand-in-hand with his mother Jessica and club member Claude Antonine to the podium to accept the club’s Ultimate Sacrifice Award, then beamed out at the audience of nearly 200 people at Antun’s Caterers in Queens Village Sunday evening.

“This is a great honor for myself, my son. All of this, once he gets older and he understands everything, I know this will mean a great deal to him,” Jessica Gonzalez said as she accepted the award with Isaiah looking on.

South Ozone Park resident Luis Gonzalez, who was raised in Corona, was killed when a vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in 2009. Isaiah was 5 months old at the time.

As part of the award ceremony, City Councilman Daniel Halloran (R-Whitestone) presented honorees with certificates of recognition from the Council.

“To the family of Staff Sgt. Gonzalez, I know that there is no way that anything we do here will ever make up for everything that happened in this War on Terror. The sacrifice you made is the ultimate one, and it is appreciated,” Halloran said.

The club also handed out the Cultural Achievement Award to the Oratorio Society of Queens; the Patriot of the Year Award to Stephen Flanagan, founder and director of the Conservative Society for Action; and the Businessman of the Year Award to Gaby’s Pizzeria in Hollis.

Gaby’s co-owner Stephen LoGiudice of Whitestone accepted the award — an engraved clock — on behalf of the pizzeria in the Fran Hill Shopping Center. Gaby’s, an unassuming storefront on Hillside Avenue, won celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s Chicago vs. New York Pizza Throw Down.

“Hopefully, we will have a win in November, free pizza day,” LoGiudice joked.

Flanagan founded the Long Island-based Conservative Society for Action in 2008, and the Bayside-based Oratorio Society recently celebrated its 85th anniversary. It is the oldest performing cultural organization in the borough.

“We have no intention of resting on our laurels. We still have new audiences to sing to. Can you imagine there are people who still haven’t heard us?” said Oratorio Society President Patty DeCiccio-Franke.

In addition, Joe King, owner of Antun’s Caterers, was acknowledged for his 30th anniversary at the well-known reception hall.

In 1982, Flushing native King and Dave Seligman became partners in the business with founder Frank Antun, who opened Antun’s in 1945. After Antun died, Seligman retired and sold his shares to King, who now runs the facility with his son Mickey.

“I let everybody know how proud I am of Queens Village and southeast Queens and the borough of Queens,” King said.

Professor Gerald Matacotta gave the dinner’s Lincoln Address, and U.S. Rep Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) served as the event’s keynote speaker.

Following his speech, Turner visited each of the 18 tables, pausing to shake hands and pose for photos with attendees, including Jessica Gonzalez and Isaiah, who cheerfully snacked on a roll during the introduction.

Posted 7:51 am, February 23, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!