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Town of Oyster Bay Honors 2010 Women of Distinction

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, together with members of the Town Board, honored eight extraordinary recipients at the 12th annual Town of Oyster Bay “Women of Distinction” Awards Ceremony, held at Town Hall March 23. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of women who either live or work in the Town.

“The ‘Women of Distinction’ Program has certainly proven to be a memorable tradition, honoring women who stand as role models for the younger generation in the Town of Oyster Bay,” Supervisor Venditto said. “These women are a shining example of the outstanding citizenship that has made the Town of Oyster Bay such a special place to live and raise a family.”

This year’s designees are:

Distinguished Woman in the Arts – Sharon Dunphy Bartlett of Farmingdale

Sharon Dunphy Bartlett is the owner of Step by Step Dance Studio in Farmingdale. Through this studio, “Miss Sharon,” as she is known to her students, expresses not only her love of dance but also her dedication to the community. The philosophy of Step by Step is to afford all students the opportunity for creative self-expression without the pressure of professional competition. Sharon believes the confidence, poise and enrichment that dance provides is valuable to the development of all children, but above all else, it should be a positive, rewarding and fun learning experience. “Miss Sharon” recognizes that dance is an art form meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. She also affords her students the chance to be involved in the community, participating at many venues and various events. She has given the Step by Step Dance Studio a true family atmosphere and is not only a great teacher to the girls, but also a positive role model. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Sharon Dunphy Bartlett as Distinguished Woman in the Arts.

Distinguished Woman in Business – Linda Cazzola of Oyster Bay

Linda Cazzola is president of 3 Gals Industrial LLC, an industrial supply company, and is very knowledgeable in her field of expertise. She is described as an asset to Brookhaven Science Associates/Brookhaven National Laboratory, to whom she sells safety equipment and supplies under a U.S. Department of Energy: Mentor-Protégé Agreement. As a small business owner, Linda has fought many battles to remain solvent in tough economic times, and she does this through personal dedication and by providing exceptional products and services to her customers. While running a successful small business in the Town of Oyster Bay, Linda still finds the time and energy to be an active member of local community organizations, including the Oyster Bay PTA, of which she is past president, and the Oyster Bay High School Booster Club. In addition, she participates in fundraisers for the Taste of the Gold Coast and breast cancer awareness. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Linda Cazzola as Distinguished Woman in Business.

Distinguished Woman in Community & Civic Affairs – Carol Gorst of Hicksville

Carol Gorst has been a volunteer with the Girl Scouts for over 50 years, working her way through the ranks as a troop leader, chairperson in the Hicksville community of Girl Scouts, and finally council level, where she remains today. Carol has worked on many projects over this time, spending four years on the board of directors and representing the council at many national conventions. Working with the Long Island Water Coalition, Carol even developed a badge to help teach girls about water conservation. Perhaps her greatest contribution has been Carol’s efforts in preserving the history of the Nassau Council of Girl Scouts. She has tirelessly listed, preserved and catalogued uniforms, books, pictures, pins, badges, memorabilia, proclamations and information on programs past and present. Her latest accomplishment was compiling all this historical information into a book, titled The History of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County 1918-2008, the First 90 Years, which was just released in November. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Carol Gorst as Distinguished Woman in Community & Civic Affairs.

Distinguished Woman in Education – Fran Drucker of Plainview

Fran Drucker has been a special education teacher for over 20 years. She is a highly talented individual with a gift for getting through to even the most severely disabled children. She has been able to give children the opportunity to enjoy the learning experience, often for the first time. In many cases her students achieve academic results that other educators, administrators and even their own parents thought were impossible. Fran shows an unparalleled dedication to her students and puts a tremendous amount of passion into her profession. Aside from her classroom work, Fran has pioneered many afterschool programs, such as homework centers, testing help centers, and home-bound tutoring. She also launched an afterschool program for Autistic children, taking them to various places to help give them a familiarity of everyday experiences. Through all this Fran also maintains a steady schedule of one-on-one tutoring on evenings and weekends. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Fran Drucker as Distinguished Woman in Education.

Distinguished Woman in Government – Doreen Ciappa of Plainedge

Doreen Ciappa lost her daughter Natalie to a heroin overdose in 2008, just prior to her scheduled graduation from Plainedge High School. Doreen and her husband took a tragic event in their lives and turned it into something that will ultimately help countless people. With the assistance of local government, the Ciappa’s worked tirelessly to show that heroin does not discriminate and can infiltrate into the even the best child’s life. In an effort to alert other parents of the dangers of heroin abuse in any community, the Ciappa’s created Natalie’s Law, which was passed unanimously in both the Nassau and Suffolk County Legislatures. This law requires police to notify school districts about heroin arrests on Long Island. Doreen has not stopped there; she continues to raise the awareness about this epidemic that does not discriminate, as many teenagers are facing the pressures and temptations on a daily basis. Doreen and her family’s measures will help stop others from going through the pain of a loss that could have been prevented. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Doreen Ciappa as Distinguished Woman in Government.

Distinguished Woman in Health Services – Lori Garone of Hicksville

Lori Garone is a certified Clinical Specialist in Hippotherapy, a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded sensory input. This type of physical therapy is used for clients who have movement dysfunction. Lori is vice president of the American Hippotheraphy Association Board of Directors, and serves as chairperson for Education Curriculum Development, as well as the Nominating Committee. Lori is also a registered therapist and registered instructor with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. As clinical director at the Sullivan Diagnostic and Testing Center, she helped develop an activity program which incorporated hippotheraphy into patients’ plans of care as well as Equine Assisted Therapy and activities incorporating the environment of the horse for residential patients, daycare program and work-related experiences. Lori, a lifelong horsewoman herself, has a private practice on Long Island, Physical Therapy in Motion, since 1990, and incorporates hippotheraphy into her patients’ plan of care. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Lori Garone as Distinguished Woman in Health Services.

Distinguished Woman Humanitarian – Tamara Baker of Massapequa/Farmingdale

Tamara Baker is the founder and driving force behind “We Care Blankets,” a nonprofit group which knits and crochets blankets that are distributed to children fighting cancer in area hospitals and camps. About every five weeks, a ‘wrap’ is held, where blankets are collected, wrapped and packed for delivery, all done by volunteers. At each of these events as many as 250 blankets are readied to comfort a sick child. Any money donated to “We Care” is used to purchase yarn, which is given to crafters to transform into these comforting blankets. Tamara’s tireless efforts have brought together some 100 volunteers to prepare the blankets and then distribute them to some 30 area hospitals. She has helped bring a sense of community to all who work with her in this cause, but most of all has brought comfort to countless children who are undergoing chemotherapy. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Tamara Baker as Distinguished Woman Humanitarian.

Distinguished Woman Volunteer – Sarita Keyser of Massapequa

Sarita Keyser has been described as a kind-hearted, loving, overly generous, giving, genuine, down-to-earth and fair individual. She is one of those people who is always available to lend a hand, volunteering her time to organizations, causes and individuals. If somebody is down on their luck and says “no thank you” when she asks how she can help, she will find a way to help anyway. Sarita has volunteered her time to numerous charities and organizations, such as Cerebral Palsy, the Interfaith Soup Kitchen and various cancer-related causes. She often spends her Thanksgivings serving dinner to the homeless or those otherwise in need. Even when she hosts a private garage sale at her home, Sarita has profits earmarked for some charity, usually for cancer awareness groups. Through all her efforts she even finds time to be an active member of her temple, where she does volunteer work and helps in fundraising efforts. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Sarita Keyser as Distinguished Woman Volunteer.