Elizabeth Daitz: Herald's 2012 Person of the Year

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The effort ultimately attracted so much clothing and other much-needed supplies that East Rockaway became a distribution center for neighboring communities that were also hit hard by the storm. “Chief Torborg and Diane LauKaitis were right there the whole time,” Daitz said. “They asked what I needed.”

“Liz reached out to me right after the storm,” Torborg recalled. “I was doing what I had to do with my department, and Jim Carrigan from the Office of Emergency Management was taking care of things on his end, but Liz saw a need and ran with it. She was the driving force behind the relief efforts — she got the ball rolling and did the work. She had the drive, the motivation and the organizational skills to get it done — and she doesn’t take no for an answer!”

After meeting with East Rockaway Recreation Director Rick Kappel and the Rev. Mark Lukens of Bethany Congregational Church on Main Street, Daitz eventually moved the entire operation to the church’s gymnasium. She said she is most proud of the fact that this was a true community effort. “I didn’t do this alone,” she said modestly.

Daitz, a 1998 graduate of East Rockaway High School, moved to Astoria, Queens, after attending Adelphi and St. John’s Law School. She is an attorney for the City of New York’s Special Federal Litigation Department. She has an older sister, Lauren Daitz-Godoy.

“Elizabeth has always been the kind of person who was going to save the world, one person at a time,” said her mother, Sue Daitz, who works for the East Rockaway Public Library. “Both of my daughters are like that, but Elizabeth is more out in front about it. She’s very compassionate and caring, and she often takes on other people’s problems.”

Sue Daitz said that her daughter knows more about a person 20 minutes after they are introduced than anyone she’s ever seen. “She is upbeat, social, she loves to travel, she likes to read constantly, she loves to try new things, she’s outgoing and easy to get along with,” Sue said. “I’m thrilled that she’s getting this honor from the Herald.”
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