“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”
Those words, uttered by Abraham Lincoln, are featured prominently on Dan Caracciolo’s Facebook page — words that he obviously identifies with, and which, we’ve come to believe, he could have written about himself.
For his tireless efforts to mobilize a community to action by starting a grass-roots organization in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to allow victims of the storm to network with one another and share information, and for his involvement in many other school and civic activities, the Herald is proud to name Caracciolo its 2013 Person of the Year.
Born on July 17, 1980, Caracciolo grew up in the heart of East Rockaway, on Waldo Street. One of four sons of Larry and Barbara Caracciolo, he attended East Rockaway High School, graduating in 1998 and going on to Marist College upstate, where he earned a degree in communications in 2002. He is a business relationship manager at HSBC bank. He and his wife of nine years, Kristina, live on Williamson Street in Bay Park, and have two young daughters, Rikki and Felicity.
“In high school, Dan was first on the dance floor at every single Sweet 16 party,” said his longtime friend Liz Daitz, who has known him since seventh grade. “He was the school mascot, a Rock Rivalry chairperson and played in the band. He was, and is, the first to smile, the first to laugh and the first to bring joy to the people around him.”
After Sandy devastated much of the community, Caracciolo’s quick mind, his ideas, his insight and his passion to help others propelled him to be more proactive — but, Daitz said, he was active in the community long before the storm hit, regularly attending school board, civic and community meetings.
“Everywhere you turned, Dan was there,” Daitz said. “Whether it was spearheading the recovery effort or making sure our schools were the best and safest places for his children and those of his neighbors. We are blessed to have him, and I am so, so lucky to be his friend.”
Planting the seeds for a grass-roots organization