2017-11-08 / Features

Two Honored At SCS

BY THOMAS COGAN


Maureen Lynch of the Edward D. Lynch Funeral Home and winner of the 2017 Neighborhood Visionary Award at the Sunnyside Community Services annual dinner, stands between SCS Board Member Gerald Lederman (l.) and SCS Executive Director Judy Zangwill. 
Photo Roberta Zulawski Maureen Lynch of the Edward D. Lynch Funeral Home and winner of the 2017 Neighborhood Visionary Award at the Sunnyside Community Services annual dinner, stands between SCS Board Member Gerald Lederman (l.) and SCS Executive Director Judy Zangwill. Photo Roberta Zulawski Two long-time supporters of Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) were honored for corporate citizenship and neighborhood vision at SCS’s Annual Celebration dinner on October 29, at the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City.

Two board presidents past and present were also recognized, as was an immigrant from Peru who is part of the SCS adult literacy program. Executive Director of SCS Judy Zangwill began the proceedings by introducing Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer who got the meeting started with words of support, calling himself “a regular at the senior center.”

Van Bramer said that without SCS, countless women and men would have nowhere to turn for some of their critical needs. Remembering that some two weeks before he and many others had honored Lily Gavin, the late Sunnyside activist and restaurateur, by naming the street corner near her restaurant after her, he said it was now time to honor another Sunnysider, Maureen A. Lynch of Edward D. Lynch Funeral home, with a Neighborhood Visionary Award, along with honoring Josh Lamberg of Lamb Financial Group with a Corporate Citizen Award.

Judy Zangwill said she herself felt honored to be executive director of such an organization. In addition to citing the “vast array” of SCS services, she named some recent achievements, among them establishment of a Beacon Community Center at Public School 343, the Children’s Lab School (CLS), at 45- 45 43rd St.

That now accompanies the Beacon Community Center at Intermediate School 5, 50-40 Jacobus St. in Elmhurst. Another good move was partnering with the Noguchi Museum in Astoria.

She called Sanket Balasura, former president of the SCS board, to the front of the room to present him with a framed certificate of appreciation for meritorious service, especially for establishing a scholarship fund that awards scholarships to two students each year. Later that week, Balasura, who was also praised by Amit Kalra, his successor as board president, was ceremonially welcomed as a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. Kalra said that the Sunnyside Post Mile Run on October 14 was run to raise funds for SCS and raised $20,000 (adding parenthetically that he would be running in the New York Marathon, Sunday, November 5). He said the West Queens Immigrant Coalition that was formed this year joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in a pledge that “We support the Dreamers.”

Maritza Terrones, an immigrant from Peru and a member of the SCS adult literacy program, addressed the dinner audience, calling herself lucky to have landed in Sunnyside, where she is currently an SCS volunteer. She said her husband was fortunate enough to have taken English classes there too, becoming skilled enough to be able to communicate with his employer without the constant need of a translator. She said she is looking for a job while she keeps working on improving her English.

The time came for the final recognitions, the Corporate Citizen Award and the Neighborhood Visionary Award, given respectively to Josh Lamberg of Lamb Financial Group and Maureen A. Lynch of the Edward D. Lynch Funeral Home.

The first recipient, Josh Lamberg, is the founder and chief executive of Lamb Financial Group, identified as the largest American insurance broker dedicated to social service organizations. It has offices in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles. When introducing him, Zangwill said Lamberg has the knack for making every customer feel like his favorite customer. He is a native of Philadelphia and was at one time a minor-league baseball player (a catcher; and large man that he is, he must have been an imposing sight). He worked for a Philadelphia insurance carrier and for Liberty Mutual also before setting out on his own.

He said that he built Lamb Financial on cold-calling, which takes endurance to keep one going and charm and cleverness to ultimately succeed. One of his cold calls was at Sunnyside Community Services. He found it to be in something of a jam, having lost a workplace safety program that had been maintained by the city before it withdrew from the program, leaving SCS and other formerly-supported organizations on their own. A new program had to be custom-made by Lamb Financial for SCS, and what was created has been called “cutting edge.” He has become an enthusiastic supporter of SCS as well.

Maureen Lynch, winner of the Neighborhood Visionary Award, represents the third generation in charge of operations at the Edward D. Lynch Funeral Home, 43-07 Queens Boulevard. Her grandfather, Edward D. Lynch, founded it in 1931(and it has become one of the oldest local businesses still in existence) and her father, Edward F. Lynch, succeeded him in the 1940s, after the war. Maureen Lynch has been in the business since 1980 and at present is joined in the family enterprise by her two brothers, Edward and Gerald, and two nephews, Daniel and Matthew.

She was introduced by SCS Board Member Gerald Lederman and immediately recalled 1974 and local attempts to start a senior services entity that became SCS. Lynch said she was an enthusiast for it from the start.

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