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United Way

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Kerry Thomas

United Way of Long Island recently welcomed five new board members.

“We are fortunate to enjoy the partnership of such an accomplished, passionate group of business leaders, who want to give back to their communities through the United Way of Long Island,” said Board Chair Lynda Nicolino, Chief Legal Counsel at Bethpage Federal Credit Union. “They bring valued skill to the organization, and we look forward to working with them to advance the common good on Long Island.”

“Our Board of Directors are leaders in their industries who are committed to building a stronger community where they live,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “Each one plays an important role, bringing a different perspective and area of expertise to our mission.”

Jerome Bost

Jerome Bost

Jerome Bost serves as the Director of Government Affairs & Communications for IBEW 1049, one of the largest unions on Long Island, representing the interests of over 4,000 members in the gas and electric industry. With over 15 years of experience in government, communications, and labor relations, Jerome previously served as a Director in Congressman Tom Suozzi’s office, managing federal agency inquiries, stakeholder communications, diversity initiatives, and critical congressional projects. He also worked for the Former Presiding Officer of Suffolk County Legislature, DuWayne Gregory. Deeply committed to community service, Jerome serves on the Advisory Board for Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus and the Board of Directors for Young Life-Northeastern Division

Kerry Thomas

Kerry Thomas

Kerry Thomas, a licensed social worker from East Northport, is Chair of the Nassau-Suffolk HIV Health Services and Planning Council and member of the Clinical Quality Management Committee. He has 12 years of experience in HIV/AIDS supportive services. In his current role as Program Manager at Thursday’s Child, Kerry oversees the Ryan White Part A programs, Safety Net/AIDS Services Access Program, and HIV testing and outreach services. Throughout the years, he has collaborated with various partnerships such as NYS AIDS Institute Faith Communities Project and Ending the Epidemic initiatives. In addition, Kerry is Chair of the Northwell Health LGBTQ+ Transgender Program Client Advisory Board and participates in the planning and facilitating of Health Conference workshops.

Rosalie Drago

Rosalie Drago

With 30 years of New York-based economic and workforce development experience, Rosalie Drago of Greenlawn has dedicated her career to equitable and inclusive growth; building economic foundations for quality, sustainable employment, and prosperity for the region through a place-based approach. Before joining Haugland Group as Community Economic & Workforce Development Manager, Rosalie completed her term as the first female Commissioner of Labor in Suffolk County. Her department was responsible for removing barriers to work for Suffolk County’s 1.5 million residents, fostering a diverse local talent pipeline for business and unions and ensuring a safe, level playing field for Suffolk’s 15,000 licensed businesses. Prior to joining Suffolk County, Commissioner Drago served as Long Island Regional Director for Workforce Development Institute, a statewide non-profit, where she partnered with Long Island employers, labor unions, lawmakers, and educators to strengthen communities through the creation of a more skilled workforce.

Jaime Stojanowski

Jaimie Stojanowski

Overseeing Long Island, New York City and Westchester County, Jaime Stojanowski is the Consumer Region Executive for Bank of America Metro New York. With more than 25 years at the firm, she leads strategic client-focused growth, digital transformation, and operational excellence across more than 200 financial centers, serving millions of clients. She has excelled in a variety of leadership roles building diverse teams through mentorship with an emphasis on the next generation of talent. Jaime resides in Franklin Square with her husband and three children and is a community champion supporting volunteer efforts both personally and professionally.

William Misita

William Misita

Bill Misita joined Philadelphia Insurance Companies in 1999 as a Production Underwriter and was tasked with opening a NY office in an area where there had been minimal prior success. Bill started working from home before opening an office that grew to be the largest field production office in the country. He was one of PHLY’s top performers early in his tenure and earned the distinction of top producer in the country five times. Bill went on to serve as Regional Vice President of the Metro Region for eight years, helping to successfully guide the region through various challenges and underwriting initiatives to remain the largest region in the Company before moving on to become Senior Vice President of the Northeast Territory in 2021. In this role, Bill is responsible for overseeing over $1B in premium placed mainly through retail and wholesale insurance brokerage relationships, as well as participating in various recruiting, coaching, and developing activities for employees across all divisions of the organization.

To learn more about United Way of Long Island’s Leadership visit: https://www.unitedwayli.org/board-directors

About United Way of Long Island   

United Way of Long Island advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on three key building blocks: health, education, and financial stability. United Way invests in community partnerships to help our most vulnerable and at-risk residents through organizations and programs that grant equitable access to resources and services across the region. For more information about United Way of Long Island, visit www.unitedwayli.org, call 2.1.1 or follow them on FacebookLinkedInX, and Instagram.

From left, Craig Fligstein, Chief Grants Officer of United Way of Long Island accepts a check for $10,000 from Project Warmth Fuel Fund Committee member Dennis Galvem of Eversource and Brian Tymann of Ørsted in support of United Way of Long Island’s Project Warmth. Photo courtesy of United Way

Ørsted/Eversource of East Setauket contributed $10,000 to United Way’s Project Warmth on March 1. 

United Way of Long Island’s Project Warmth Fuel Fund Committee, a group of key representatives from the energy sector across Long Island including Ørsted/Eversource, is at the forefront of helping to warm the homes and hearts of neighbors in temporary financial distress.

Due to the collective efforts of individuals and corporations, United Way was able to impact over 3,200 adults and children, including seniors and veterans in need of emergency heating assistance this winter season. 

As Long Island’s only island-wide non-governmental emergency heating fund, United Way’s Project Warmth is available as a safety net for individuals and families who are facing energy insecurity. Assistance with an oil delivery or heat-related utility bill means people have room in their budgets to cover essentials like food or medication.

 “Many working or ALICE* families make financial trade-offs during the winter months to make ends meet. This can be as simple as paying for groceries for their family instead of a heating bill. Because of dedicated supporters like Ørsted/Eversource, United Way can be sure that Long Islanders’ homes remain heated, and in a safe manner,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO of United Way of Long Island.

To support Project Warmth for the 2022-23 season, please visit unitedwayli.org/projectwarmth.

United Way of Long Island’s Team Mission United member Bryan Gray (right), U.S. Army veteran prepares to run 26.2 miles in the TCS NYC Marathon along with fellow National Grid colleague Nicholas Chester, U.S Navy veteran. The team of 10 athletes raised over $31,000 in support of United Way’s veterans’ programs and services.

Huntington Station resident Bryan Gray and U.S. Army veteran has crossed the finish line in the TCS NYC Marathon and raised over $3,700 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs.   The nonprofit was named an Official Charity Partner of the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon, which took place on Sunday, November 7, 2021.

Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO of United Way of Long Island said this was the sixth year the not-for profit has been invited to join the race under Team Mission United.  “United Way of Long Island is pleased once again to be named an official charity partner of the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon. We cheered on Bryan and all of the members of Team Mission United on their journey to the iconic finish line as they raised important funds to benefit Long Island veterans.”

Bryan was encouraged to join Team Mission United by his employer and United Way sponsor National Grid.  “We are honored to back Bryan, as well as his team member and fellow employee Nicholas Chester, also a U.S. Navy veteran, for their tremendous efforts in support of fellow military members who have served our country,” said John Brucker, COO of Electric for NY of National Grid and United Way of Long Island Board member.  He added, “We couldn’t be prouder.”

United Way’s Team Mission United is a dedicated group of athletes who run for the over 95,000 veterans and military families on Long Island.  Mission United is a critical initiative of United Way of Long Island that focuses on supporting veterans’ services. This includes the areas of employment readiness & training, emergency financial assistance, case management and housing development.

The 2021 Team Mission United runners collectively have raised over $31,000 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs.  Leading sponsors include: AARP, BottomLine Technologies, Hiram Cohen & Sons Insurance, National Grid, New York Community Bank Foundation and Royal Star Associates. To help Bryan and his teammates continue their fundraising efforts visit: www.unitedwayli.org/teammissionunited

Bryan Gray, Team Mission United Runner

After serving in the U.S. Army for six years, Bryan enthusiastically joined United Way of Long Island’s Team Mission United with the goal of running 26.2 miles in the NYC Marathon, and at the same time raising funds for veterans.

Following his graduation from the Merchant Marine Academy in 2007, Bryan was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, where he served as a platoon leader. His Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 and remained overseas for more than a year. When the unit was deployed again, he stayed on and took command of the unit’s Rear Detachment.

“I always wanted to serve. That was something important to me when I applied to the Merchant Marine Academy,” Bryan said. “That was a goal of mine. Overall, it was a really great experience. I miss the service and I miss the people. It’s something I really value in terms of my experience in life.”

Through fundraising for veterans, Bryan is giving back to a cause that has made a major impact on him. As a lifelong Long Islander, he knows the impact veterans make in his community as well as anyone.

Now a resident of Huntington Station, Bryan is the Portable Pipeline Director for National Grid. Since his days in the Army, he has remained active through running and CrossFit. He previously raised funds for a veteran organization as part of the Bear Chase Race, a 50K trail race through Bear Creek Lake Park in Colorado. Bryan also completed the Bataan Memorial Death March – a 26.2-mile race completed with a 40-pound pack – in New Mexico.

Bryan’s prior running and service endeavors stretch from coast to coast, but this year, he’s took aim at the marathon in his own backyard. Bryan’s mother has run the New York City Marathon multiple times in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, while his brother ran it shortly after graduating from college.

The New York City Marathon has always been in the back of Bryan’s mind. Now, he ran it for a cause that has shaped his life.

A blood sample with respiratory coronavirus positive. Stock photo

Starting today, Suffolk County is providing free testing, by appointment only, at Huntington Station as a part of the county’s efforts to develop a hotspot testing program for communities struggling with a higher incidence of coronavirus infections.

Additionally, Suffolk County will open testing sites in Brentwood and Riverhead on Friday and is searching for additional sites.

Hotspot testing is “targeted and focused on those communities where we are seeing higher rates happening,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on a daily conference call with reporters. Testing will hopefully allow the county to get a better understanding of what the numbers are and will help people battling symptoms of COVID-19 to connect with necessary resources.

Bellone thanked Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, who connected county officials with Reef Technology, which is a large scale logistics company. At no cost, Reef will provide tents and help to handle the logistics at these sites, Bellone said.

“It’s a great example of a private sector business stepping up to help,” Bellone said.

At the same time, another company, called East/West Industries based in Ronkonkoma, which designs and manufactures products for airline crews and has contracts with military and commercial airlines, is working to provide face masks which are in line with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for first responders, police officers, deputy sheriffs. The masks will be cloth masks and will be made of reusable cloth. East/West is also donating the company’s time to produce this protective equipment.

Separately, Bellone said the nonprofit Long Island-based outreach center United Way is collecting donations to help people who are struggling amid the severe economic slowdown. People who are interested in donating to this effort can contact the United Way at UnitedWayLI.org. Those who are interested in accessing those resources can also visit the same site, Bellone said.

The county executive reiterated the county and state government’s 90-day prohibition on evictions.

“We understand that this crisis has created a terrible financial impact for many people, put extreme pressure on landlords” who have bills they have to pay, but “we want to may it clear that evictions are not permissible.”

Bellone highlighted that today marks exactly one month since Suffolk County recorded its first case of the pandemic. The numbers have been climbing since then and have shown some slowdown in recent days.

By the end of the day today, Bellone expects the number of deaths to approach or exceed 300, which is up from 263 yesterday.

The number of confirmed cases is approaching 17,000. Amid a determined effort to increase hospital capacity, the county has increased the number of beds by 1,000 to 3,322. The number of intensive care unit beds is up to 746, which is an increase of 49 from yesterday.

The number of people hospitalized also continued to increase, with 1,585 hospitalized and 517 in the ICU, which is 11 higher than yesterday but still below the peak.

Bellone was pleased to report that 130 residents have been discharged from the hospital in the last 24 hours.

Bellone urged residents to stay the course, even as the temperature climbs, with social distancing.

Meanwhile, Stony Brook University disclosed some of the vast array of donations to its health care workers, who are on the front lines of the ongoing battle to beat back the infection in a county that has more positive tests for the virus than every other state but New York and New Jersey.

Between March 20 and April 4, the University received 201,959 pieces of personal protective equipment, 232 iPads 4,793 comfort care items and 65 foot deliveries. The comfort care items have included fidget spinners, aromatherapy masks, vide messages and stress balls, while patient comfort care has included puzzles, socks, sleep masks, notebooks and pens.

Huntington Station veteran Jerome Robinson, ninth from left, stands with the 2017 VetsBuild graduating class at the Huntington Opportunity Resource Center Nov. 13. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Veterans who have served our country are proving in Huntington Station they can also learn the skills to help build a better local community.

More than 20 veterans received their certification in construction at the Huntington Opportunity Resource Center Nov. 13 after successfully passing through VetsBuild, a program offered by the nonprofit United Way of Long Island, that provides job training in green construction, facility maintenance and technology for veterans and their families.

“VetsBuild is not just about teaching home building skills and construction skills, it’s about building your lives,” said Craig Fligstein, vice president of community impact for United Way of LI. “It has accelerated positive changes in your life and allowed you to take a new turn in your career.”

Huntington Station resident Jerome Robinson, a 2017 VetsBuild graduate, said he served 11 years in the U.S. Army and as an officer in U.S. Army Reserves.

“We have served our country in different ways, but we are all looking for a way to move forward and find a new and exciting career path for ourselves,” Robinson said. “Personally, VetsBuild has opened up a number of doors.”

Robinson, 52, said he was previously employed doing overnight custodial work for Stony Brook University and struggled to make ends meet after being laid off in September. He learned about the free six-week construction program through United Veterans Beacon House, a nonprofit organization that provides temporary and permanent residences for U.S. Military veterans in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and started classes Oct. 2.

“I knew it was a chance to make myself more marketable to potential employers and find a career,” Robinson said.

VetsBuild will offer two to three training sessions a year for veterans depending on demand, according to Rick Wertheim, the senior vice president of housing and green initiatives for the United Way of LI. Those enrolled take daily classes in basic construction techniques and earn their Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-hour certification. Students then have the opportunity to train in specialized disciplines of the trade, from electrical to gas work, based on their interests, Wertheim said.

Robinson said he will be moving forward with GasPro, to gain skills in gas appliance installation and repairs. Others in his class will become electrical apprentices and at least one will be going back to college for an associates degree in renewable energy.

The skills the veterans have learned are used to build energy-smart homes throughout Long Island, including some for other veterans in need. The United Way of LI debuted the most recently completed VetsBuild home at 40 Depot Road in Huntington Station. It was specially commissioned by United Veterans Beacon house to become a residence for five veterans with special needs.

The more than 3,500-square-foot house was named the 2017 Grand Winner for Innovation in Affordable Homes by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Housing Innovation Awards. The Depot Road home earned the recognition by being a “zero energy ready home” because it incorporates specialized innovative green features. These features render the projected annual energy cost at a netgain of $200 per year due to its capability to sell off excess energy produced by its photovoltaic solar panels. Other green technology featured in the home includes a solar thermal water heating system, internet-controlled heating and air conditioning, and 100 percent LED lighting.