(Editor's Note: See biographies of the two Citizens Party candidates, incumbent Trustees Phil Guarnieri and Tom Tweedy, in an upcoming issue. The village election is Tuesday, March 16).
Unity Party candidate Henry M. (Hank) Brodersen was born in Germany in 1940. When he came to the United States in 1954 he attended John Lewis Childs School to learn English, then went to Sewanhaka High School for the next year and a half. He graduated from Bayside High School in 1958, where he was captain of the soccer team for two years.
Brodersen joined the Army after high school and became a paratrooper in March 1959. He spent a total of nine years in the military with stations at Fort Campbell, KY, where he attended parachute and Recondo Survival School, at Fort Bragg, NC, non-commissioned officers academy and Fort Stewert, GA. He also served the country in Korea as well as in Vietnam. Brodersen was awarded seven military awards during his tenure in the Army.
Upon returning from Vietnam in July 1967, Brodersen bought the Floral Station Deli on Tulip Avenue. He recently retired this past November. He served two terms as president of the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce and in 1992 was named Floral Park Businessperson of the Year. He is fluent in Frisian and German.
Henry and his wife, Catherine, a medical auditor, have two children. Michael is an operations manager for Enoico Food Distributors in Elmsford, NY, and Lisa is a second-year law student at St. John's University. Brodersen's grandchildren, Sean and Cassidy, attend Our Lady of Victory School. He currently lives on Rose Avenue.
Ralph Ratto has lived in Floral Park for over 35 years. He attended both Floral Park Memorial and Sewanhaka High Schools. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Masters Degree in elementary education from The New York Institute of Technology. He owned R & L Designs Ltd. on Tulip Avenue for many years and currently teaches fifth grade at the Manor Oaks School in New Hyde Park.
Ratto served one term as president of the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce. While president, the Chamber successfully worked with the village to establish merchant parking permits and Merchant's Day and purchased new holiday decorations. Ratto was also named Floral Park Businessperson of the Year.
He served as vice president of the Waterbill Watchdogs. He was instrumental in the fight against Jamaica Water, which resulted in over $30 million in benefits and savings returned to the community. Ratto has also served the village as president and board member of the Floral Park Library, president of the Floral Park Youth Council, director of the FPYC Teen Center and board member of the Floral Park Indians, Floral Park Little League and The Floral Park Bellerose Senior Citizens Corporation.
While a member of the Lions Club, Ratto was awarded Lion of the
Year for his design and management of the Levy park restoration on Tulip Avenue. He has also been involved in several ad hoc committees in the village, such as the committee to stop Queens buses from entering Floral Park and the committee to stop a Super Stop & Shop from opening on Carnation Avenue.
He has coached youth baseball soccer and basketball. Currently he is a New York State certified lacrosse official as well as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 4.
Ralph and his wife, Lillian, a registered dietitian at Franklin Hospital, have three children. Christopher is an electrical engineering student at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Daniel and Catherine are students at Floral Park Memorial High School.