December 26, 2013 | 11 views
Person of the Year
When you sit down with West Hempstead native Patti Locurcio, an
indefatigable and vigorous volunteer in her community, you would be excused for fixating on the gears you imagine methodically spinning in her head as she casually proposes a new nonprofit or social initiative. As an advocate of several community organizations, a businesswoman and a wife and mother of three, Locurcio has embodied the word “activism” for more than a decade on her own terms — all while working from a wheelchair.
The Herald is proud to name her its 2013 Person of the Year.
“There are only certain people in the community who you say you would like to clone,” said Rosalie Norton, president of the West Hempstead Community Support Association, “and Patti is definitely one you would like to clone. We need more Patty Locurcios.”
Norton noted how Locurcio, 48, a longtime member of the association, regularly lends a hand in organizing the annual Memorial Day parade and hosting the children’s holiday party at Hall’s Pond Park, even braving the bitter cold to help young kids decorate holiday cookies.
Norton attributed Locurcio’s selflessness to her upbeat personality and her resolve, the result of 17 years of dealing with multiple sclerosis, a disease that damages the nervous system, affecting both physical and mental functions.
“She doesn’t want to sit still, and she’s managed to achieve a degree of independence that many people can’t achieve,” Norton said. “She’s been invaluable as far as what she has done because she’s one of those people who will step up to the plate and get it done.”
When she retired on disability after 17 years as a legal secretary in 2001, Locurcio chose not to slow down, instead spearheading local community groups and volunteering across West Hempstead and beyond, with the support of her husband, Paul, and their three children, Gina, 24, Nicholas, 19, and Paul Jr., 16.