November 20, 2013 | 764 views
Give credit to the Chamber of Commerce
To the Editor:
The events of last week’s Island Park Chamber of Commerce meeting still disturb me. For years the Island Park chamber was an almost nothing entity. It has been a group of business people with a sagging membership who get together and pat each other on the back once a year, handing out their Man of the Year award at the annual dinner that we all dutifully attend to applaud the winner and validate the existence of a group that really didn’t do much for this town.
In recent years that has changed. Michael Scully, Glenn Ingoglia, John Cistero, Doris Gralitzer, Barbara Rubin, Harvey Gertler, and the “new” Chamber of Commerce have all stepped up to the plate and turned it around, delivering for this community. What was once an obscure old boys’ club now was reaching out and including everyone.
From the sign welcoming people to our little town, to the mixers, to the dinner meetings, as well as hosting ribbon cuttings for Sandy-ravaged businesses when they came back, they have been tireless. Can anyone forget the morning of the Sandy vote in the Senate, when our chamber delivered Sen. Chuck Schumer to the center of our village for a bird’s eye view of our situation and a press a conference? The chamber did that!
The new leadership has expanded membership, fostered friendships, promoted unity and brought attention and money to this town. They sought and coordinated over half a million dollars in National Grid grants and aid to local businesses. They have constantly worked on the beautification projects. They have done more in one year than the old Chamber did in 20, and more than any other group in this town in the past year. And their reward? Not a “thank you,” “good job,” not even a pat on the back, or a nod. Nothing like that. It seems in this town when you step out, volunteer your time, effort or money; when you try to make anything better, what you get is a target on your back. You get attacked.