We posted this last week, but seeing as there will probably be no further posting today we thought we'd once again unveil, in the spirit of MLK Day, your choices for Bronxites of the Year -- those who give, and have given, so much to their communities without much recognition or glory. This is a new feature and something we'll probably do every year. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, as 2010 came to a close, we asked our readers to submit their choices for Bronxite of the Year--taking a cue from Time Magazine and its annual person of the year. We asked you to nominate a member of your community who you thought made a difference this year, who's been a force for good, and who's gone above and beyond.
To be clear, this isn't a contest, but more of a way to showcase a number of individuals who served the borough with distinction in 2010. We didn't pick a winner--we're posting them all below.
So here they are--your picks for Bronxite of the Year.
|Meg Charlop at the Tour de Bronx in 2000 (Norwood News file photo)|
Zach Charlop-Powers nominated his mother, Meg Charlop, a long-time Norwood resident and veteran public health advocate who worked at Montefiore for more than 25 years in the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and most recently as director for community health in the School Health Program. Charlop passed away in a tragic bicycle accident in March at the age of 57.
"My mother was devoted to the Bronx and the people of the Bronx," Charlop-Powers wrote. "She moved into the Bronx in the 70's when everybody else was leaving, and she worked tirelessly and fearlessly."
Charlop's many accomplishments throughout decades of work include organizing tenants against deadbeat landlords, rallying against the use of lead-paint in Bronx homes, and establishing several school health and fitness programs.
"For the work my mother did, for her unbelievable capacity for love of the people of the Bronx, for her dedication to them, and for the rare ability to actually get things put into motion I think she should be your Bronxite of 2010," Charlop-Powers wrote.
|Longtime Bronx pastor Father Flynn.|
(Photo by David Gonzalez)
Known for his work outside the pulpit as much as within it, Flynn fought for years against neighborhood drug-related violence. He started “Save a Generation,” a program during the 1990s to assist high school dropouts. His campaign for young people to trade their guns in for a crucifix was profiled in the New York Times and other media outlets and he was known for his long daily walks around the church's Crotona neighborhood.
Flynn gave his last sermon in June and is currently living in Riverdale, at a home for retired priests.
Bob Connolly, CEO for BronxWest Consulting, nominates Sister Eileen Richards, who taught math and science at the all-girls Aquinas High School in Belmont for over 44 years. (No photo available.)
"Sister Eileen is as humble and modest a person as I've ever met," Connolly wrote. "She is a person who has spent her entire life in the Bronx. Several times over the years she has had the opportunity to move on to different positions in suburban Catholic schools and each time she decided her place is in the Bronx."
During her decades teaching, Sister Eileen has helped countless young women of the Bronx graduate from high school and go on to college, Connolly said, many of whom "have returned to the Bronx as doctors and other professionals now serving their community in valuable ways."
|Bronx political activist Yorman Nunez at a rally (Photo by Adi Talwar)|
Nunez, who's only 22, has worked worked for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and even once toyed with a run for City Council in 2009. This year, he jumped on the campaign trail once again to work for two local political candidates--Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, the first person to challenge Pedro Espada, and later for Gustavo Rivera after Pilgrim-Hunter dropped out.
"He managed a remarkably professional campaign," Marth wrote. "The New Roosevelt Initiative eventually hired him to manage its field operations in support of the Rivera candidacy."
Marth also recognized Juan Antigua and Wendoly Marte for working to get Rivera elected.
"I have great hope for the future of the Bronx because of great young leaders in our community like these three," he said.
BxNN reader Connie Anestis wanted to nominate not one person, but the entire staff at Leroy's Pharmacy on 204th Street.
|Employees at Leroy's Drug Store (Norwood News file photo)|
Leroy's employees are always willing to answer questions and make suggestions about a customer's health regimen, Anestis said.
"They are truly an asset to the neighborhood."
Community activist Karen Argenti nominates BronxTalk host and BxNN blog contributor Gary Axelbank as her choice for Bronxite of 2010, for his many roles as an advocate for the community. He's hosted the BRONXNET show for 17 years, one of the longest running TV talk shows in New York City.
"While being completely objective, his interviews on BronxTalk provide Bronxites with unique in-depth access not available anywhere else," Argenti wrote. "The show has highlighted culture, community, economic, educational, environmental, fitness/health, music, and last but not least, he is not afraid to tackle the issues that impact our lifestyle’s most – politics!"
|BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank|
Axelbank, Argenti said, is also a longtime Bronx resident and devoted husband and father.
"A real Bronx family!" she said.
Bronx real estate broker Gregory Tsougranis casts his vote for Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), the economic arm of Bronx Borough President's office, a position she was appointed to last winter.
|BOEDC President Marlene Cintron|
Cintron was approached by new Gov. Cuomo earlier this month with the prospect of joining his new economic team--an offer she turned down to stay in the Bronx, according to the Daily News.
"Many people use the Bronx as a stepping stone," Tsougranis said. "She stuck with the Bronx even when courted by higher offices."