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Letter: Thank You for Making Basketball Tournament A Success

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who generously gave up their day to make my annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament a great success. In all, over 60 residents worked tirelessly on registration, food, brackets, refereeing, clean-up and judging at the tournament. Over 2,000 young people, parents, grandparents and community members came through the tournament and took part in the many activities I sponsored throughout the day.

Six people were the true backbone of this effort and did an extraordinary job coordinating this event — Michael Soudmand, Mystique Rivera, Darian Bryan, Tolulope Jegede, Joe Scopelitis and Marvin Lee. These six college students made this day one to remember for our community. They have my heartfelt thanks and that of our greater community’s children.

I also want to thank the Nassau Community College’s Men’s Basketball Team, NY Knicks, NY Liberty, New York Islanders, NY Yankees, NY Mets, NY Jets, UFC, NY Red Bulls, NY Giants, Club Chivas, LA Lakers, LI Rough Riders, U.S. Army, Powerade, U.S. Marines, Modell’s, McDonalds, KFC, Lia’s Pizza, Cesarano & Khan, NYS Troopers, Child Health Plus, Franklin Medical Hospital, Elmont Fire Department EMS, Gully Stream Entertainment, Carla Cohen, Joe Cairo, Francis Mitra, Willy Williams, Legislator John Ciotti, Councilman Ed Ambrosino and Senator Dean Skelos for their special contributions to this wonderful community day.

Some very special people had a truly tough task in making sure that everyone was checked-in and ready to play that day. Kudos go to Judy VanHaaren, Eleanor Ringold, Sharon Woitko, Sandra Smith, Francina Roman, Carmen Villanueva, Julian Clark, Savy Naraidu, Langston Young, Veronica Abumere, Lorna Moodie Jones, Alejandra Villanueva, Sage Bowen, Gabrielle Sylvain, Jessica Macean, Keith George, Barbara Reynolds, Tania Lawes and Tama Johnson.

The referees also worked very hard that day and moved the games along smoothly. Hundreds of games were supervised by some very talented young men and women. Special thanks go to: Marvin Lee, Franklin Thomas, Darian Bryan, Tolulope Jegede, John Dieudonne, Fabrice Georges, Maxx Rivera, Brandin Butler, Billy Butler, Mystique Rivera, Raj Boodhu, Joe Smith, Andrew McCarthy, Britt Jones, Toni-Ann Lawrence, Jimmy Brown and Ian Feurtado for working so well with our young people.

Thousands of waters and lunches were dispensed that day as well. A task like that was made all that much easier because of the great work of people like Joe Scopelitis, Gene VanHaaren, Ivana Roman, Melissa Cesarano, Elzie Ross, Mike Salley, Julian Maultsby, Anthony Walker, Amen Enoma, Funola Otukoya, John Rogers, Michael Heusner, Shinelle Hewitt and Obi Emeagwali.

 One of the highlights that day was the Elmont Fire Department’s Fire Safety Smoke-House. The men and women of the Elmont Fire Department did an outstanding job and were a hit with all of our young people. Additionally, I want to thank the Franklin Square Munson and Floral Park Fire Departments for their special contributions.

Throughout the day, I was truly heartened to see so many graduates of our high schools drop by and pitch in to help. One scene for me truly showed why Elmont is so special. When the food arrived at noon, there was a lot to transport from the parking lot to the food tents. Graduates of Elmont Memorial High School and, specifically, members of the football and lacrosse teams came to the rescue in helping move all the food. These young men dropped what they were doing, walked right up to the volunteers, helped picked up the food, and brought it in without even being asked. Quite frankly, there were so many of those kind of stories that day to tell them all. They all resulted in helping our young people. All I can say is “thank you all” for helping make this day so special.

I would be remiss if I did not thank John Capozzi, Kevin Sullivan, Jay Hegi and Pete Gaffney of Elmont Memorial High School for their special efforts for the tournament. At Floral Park Memorial, Kathy Sottile, Stan Johnson and Jimmy Jackman were right there for our children. At the Elmont Union Free School District, Al Harper, Bob Geras and the guys at Dutch Broadway School were so helpful along with the Board of Education. In Franklin Square, Dr. Dolan, Julie Soffientini, Pat Manley and John Stella were outstanding. At Floral Park Bellerose, Dr. Pombonyo, Dr. Piro and Pam Fine were great partners. At Carey High School, I want to thank Terry Rolla for her helpful guidance.

If you would like to see the pictures and video developed about the day, simply log-on to Facebook on the Internet. “Friend Request” Tom Alfano and you will be able to look at the over 700 photos and video of the games.

Last, but not least, I have to give a very special thank you to my friend Walter Aksionoff. Mr. “A,” as he is called by countless children, was truly extraordinary that day. He helped everyone and was the guy cheering the loudest on the courts for all our teams. Thank you Walter for everything you have done to make this day a success!

Next year, we’ll be back and I look forward to greeting our entire community at this fun event! But, for now, I want to say thank you to everyone!

Assemblyman Tom Alfano