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Town Council member Fred Pollack presents Kathy Cush with a proclamation from the Town of North Hempstead," honoring her accomplishments and declaring Special Recognition Day.

Lodge #1543 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, located in Port Washington, recently honored Past Exalted Ruler Kathy Cush at a testimonial dinner dance. Over 100 Elks, community leaders, and public officials gathered at the lodge to honor Cush, dance to the music of Ralphie's Long Island Swing Band, and partake of a lavish buffet. Cush, the first female Exalted Ruler of this lodge, was one of three female Elks who joined the lodge in 1997, shortly after the organization was opened to female members. She served as Exalted Ruler from 2004-5, and previously functioned as Esquire, Secretary, and Leading Knight. She told The Port News, "It was exciting to be a pioneer." In answer to our inquiry, she said that everyone was very welcoming, and she felt no resistance or hostility because of her gender.

Port Washington's representative to the Town Council, Fred Pollack, presented a citation from the Town of North Hempstead. The town declared a Day of Special Recognition for Cush, whom Pollack described as a "truly special person." Pollack told her, "People like you are who make Port Washington an amazing place to be."

Barbara Faticone, president of the Does dancing with her husband Tom, a Past Exalted Ruler.

Warren Schein, president of the Chamber of Commerce, not only presented Cush with a Certificate of Appreciation from the chamber; he beautifully serenaded her with It Had to Be You. Schein mentioned that he and Cush and Ed Calapa, another Past Exalted Ruler, had all been longtime members of the Port Singers. Calapa later entertained the group with a selection of favorite melodies. He said of Cush, "She has been fantastic and I am proud of her." In a later interview, Cush said, "My main interest outside of my job and the Elks is music."

Maureen O'Rourke, Police Commissioner and Elk, presented a certificate of appreciation from the Port Washington Police; and Joe Mascroianni, president of the Past Exalted Rulers Association, gave Cush an acknowledgement on behalf of the Past Exalted Rulers. Barbara Faticone, president of the Does (the Elks' auxiliary) bestowed the beautiful "Jewel of Office." Of the Does, Cush said, "They have been really helpful."

Cush, who came to Port from Brooklyn about eight years ago, was at the helm during the Elks 75th anniversary celebration, which took place at the Plandome Country Club. She said, "It was very gratifying to be in charge. People were so nice." She added, "When people told me I was doing a great job, I felt I was just doing the job I was supposed to do."

In a heartfelt but brief "thank you," to those who attended the testimonial event, Cush said, "I love the Elks. Everything I did was a labor of love. I always enjoyed what I did-it was never a burden."

The Elks lodge, which serves Great Neck and Port Washington, celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year. They participate in both local and national service projects, and sponsor social events, including a weekly Friday night dinner at the lodge. The national organization has been in existence since 1868. For more information about the Elks, call 516-767-3236 or visit www.elks.org. (You can link through the library Website.)


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