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Colorful Startup Seeks To Grow

Joe and Debbie Lindner, co-founders and owners of Colorfully Yours, are used to hearing about people voting for County Executive Ed Mangano. But this time the vote is for them.

It’s all part of a campaign to help get their business $250,000 in funds from Chase Bank’s “Mission Main Street Grant.”

“We had a company Facebook page for people to vote. We couldn’t believe one of the votes came from the County Executive himself,” Joe says.

Colorfully Yours is a customized coloring book company that specializes in educating youngsters on fire prevention, recycling and emergency preparedness. Joe and Debbie started the company 25 years ago out of their Hicksville home when, as the saying goes, “necessity became the mother of invention.”

It all started at the Westbury Fire Department’s Memorial Day picnic in 1988, where Joe was a volunteer. An emergency call came in for a “big-signal-ten” building fire. Most of the men at the picnic raced to the scene of the fire, while the women stayed behind to occupy the children.

That’s when Debbie, a professional illustrator, had a brainstorm. “I told Joe maybe I could do a coloring book all about the Westbury Fire Department to teach kids,” explains Debbie. Joe approached the Westbury Fire Chief who was all for it. So Joe and Debbie got to work.

It was the perfect marriage of their backgrounds, with Joe’s years in the Fire Department, and Debbie’s as a professional art illustrator.

“I had all the information about fire safety, and Debbie drew and wrote it,” states Joe. That first coloring book featured a personalized drawing of the Westbury firehouse in addition to the company’s own fire trucks and an abundance of fire safety tips to educate children.

Within a month the Lindners got a call from the Hicksville Fire Department asking for its own customized coloring book. “That’s when I knew we were on to something,” says Joe.

Before long, the Lindners put out a mailing and with their young daughter Jennifer in tow, went knocking on firehouse doors Sunday mornings, which is when Joe knew fire department meetings were held. Slowly they built up their clientele.

As the company grew there was no slowing down for either of the Lindners, who both maintained full time jobs outside of the company; Joe as a New York City Police officer, and Debbie as an art illustrator, a job she stumbled upon on her path to her first dream of becoming a veterinarian. “When I was in college all my professors had me illustrate their classroom presentations and told me I should be a medical illustrator,” says Debbie.

She took their advice after returning home from college and landed her first illustrator job. Never one to “sit still,” she simultaneously joined Roslyn’s Air National Guard unit, following in the footsteps of her father.

It was there she met Joe, who was also in the Air National Guard after serving in the Air Force. The couple, who describes their 1983 meeting as “love at first sight,” were married within a year, settling in Hicksville where they operated Colorfully Yours out of their basement. By 2000, they outgrew their home based operations and moved to their current facility in Bay Shore.

Around 2008 when many companies were dealing with a lagging economy, both Joe and Debbie faced additional health issues, Debbie with Systemic Lupus, and Joe with Cancer, from his days working at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. Joe is in remission and Debbie has stepped down from her role at the company but remains co-owner and acts as creative consultant on a pro-bono basis.

To date, the company supplies coloring books and kits to 75 percent of Long Island’s Fire Departments, and several out of state markets. In 2010 they expanded beyond firehouses, with custom coloring books for local sanitation departments, water districts, and one for Nassau County about disaster preparedness.

For more information about Colorfully Yours, visit www.colorfullyyours.com.

News

Stewart Manor Fire Department to host open house

You hear the horn sound multiple times a day, around the clock, but did you ever wonder what happens during the critical moments after a distress call is made to the firehouse? Who are the volunteers who are stopped in their tracks at the sound of that horn and dash off to help a neighbor in need? You’d be surprised to learn that it could be the gentleman you see walking his dog after work in the evenings, the woman you see standing at the bus stop with her children every morning, or even the young man you used to see playing with his friends in front of your house.

April 19 fundraiser to be

held for baby with rare disease

Tom Onorato, the nephew and office manager of Dr. Joseph Onorato Garden City practice All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, recently celebrated the birth of a baby boy with his wife Melissa. Both were thrilled when Thomas Kevin Onorato came into the world on September 10, 2013. Despite being born five weeks early, baby Thomas managed to surprise his parents with his indomitable spirit and was sent home with a clean bill of health. A mere four days later began the fight for Thomas’ life.


Sports

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.

Commitment at Kellenberg

Garden City residents continue to excel while participating in the athletic program over at Uniondale’s Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, coaches of Kellenberg sports pick one player from their squad who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the team through their hard work at practice and in competition.

The Village of Garden City has a long history of residents who've excelled both on the academic and athletic side of the ledger at Kellenberg. This time around, seniors Kelly O’Donnell (varsity cheerleading), Stacy Madelmayer (varsity girls basketball) and Bryan Salecker (swimming and diving team) have all been awarded the Commitment Award for their outstanding efforts, devotion, hard work and commitment to their respective teams.


Calendar

Going To The Birds (Sanctuary)

Saturday, April 26

Nassau Coaches Meet

Saturday, April 26

Making A Beautiful Noise

Friday, May 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com