Assemblyman honors 'Women of Distinction'


New York State Assemblyman David McDonough of North Merrick honored three Bellmore women and one local teacher at his fourth annual Women of Distinction ceremony last week.

Seven of the eight honorees attended the Sept. 24 ceremony at the Merrick Public Library. McDonough said the women work in business, community and civic affairs, education, government, healthcare and social services.

“Over the years, I have met countless women who work tirelessly to make a difference in our communities, yet all too often their exceptional acts go unnoticed,” he said. “That’s why I host a Women of Distinction event to honor local women who go above and beyond to make our communities better places to live, work and raise a family.”

Half of this year’s award winners are connected to the Bellmore area. Patricia Birbiglia, Patrice Sammut and Marla Kilfoyle, three of the honorees, are area residents. Rebecca Levy, of Wantagh, is an English teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School.

McDonough said Birbiglia is a woman who, in spite of personal obstacles, has worked hard to give back to others. Nine years ago, a drunk driver hit Birbiglia, who was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two years ago. But McDonough said the Abilities, Inc. employee continues to care for other people through her work with the Nassau Placement Network, the New York State Rehabilitation Association’s School Partnership Committee and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Birbiglia is also starting a cancer support group in Bellmore.

Summat is another woman with a “big heart” who deserved recognition, the assemblyman said. As computer applications manager for the New York City Department of Finance, Summat used her background in the field to help community groups like the Girl Scouts and the AARP. The former Park Avenue Elementary School PTA president also publishes the Bellmore-Merrick AARP newsletter.

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