The Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce hosted its “An Evening of Excellence” Jan. 19 to honor six community figures.
The event was held at the Coral House in Baldwin and sponsored by Daikan and Orlin & Cohen Orthopedic Group. The evening featured dinner and dancing, along with honoring six community members.
The honorees were: Sean Murphy from the Lynbrook Police Department; John Donald from the Lynbrook Fire Department; Frank Pignataro from Rivermill Tavern; Harold Reese with the lifetime achievement; Lynbrook School District Superintendent Melissa Burak; and Cory Hirsch, the president emeritus of the Chamber of Commerce.
In November 2003, after serving overseas with the United States Marine Corps, Ex-Chief John Donald followed in his father’s footsteps and joined Lynbrook Rescue Hook Ladder and Bucket Co. #1. Donald was elected to several leadership positions over the years.
Murphy, who grew up in Lynbrook and graduated from Holy Trinity High School in 2004, was awarded Police Officer of the Year.
Murphy was hired by the Lynbrook Police Department in 2010 and in 2011 graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy with a GPA of 98.
In February 2019, Murphy was promoted to the rank of Inspector, reporting directly to Chief of Police Brian Paladino. Murphy and Paladino worked together on new projects and implemented the important changes in the department.
Reese received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Reese Family has roots in Lynbrook since 1938. Harold’s father and brothers established Reese Dodge, first on Merrick Road and then on Sunrise Highway. Harold joined in when he was just out of college in the fall of 1963 and purchased the business from his father in 1986.
Reese served as president of the chamber from 1990-94, and launched the chamber’s successful Mayor’s Golf Outing.
Pignataro is the co-owner and operator of River Mill Tavern & Tables. Since purchasing the old Swiss Tavern in 2015, Pignataro has served as the executive chef.
Pignataro is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he served as an apprentice for the 2000 Culinary Olympic team. He was the American Culinary Federation “Chef of the Year” for Long Island in 2011. He is also a previous honoree at the Lynbrook Mayor’s Golf Outing and recipient of the Town of Hempstead Small Business Award for 2021.
Hirsch is the immediate past president of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce and was honored as president emeritus. He grew up in Lynbrook and graduated from Lynbrook High School in 2005.
Hirsch joined the family business, CPA Realty & Building Management, a full-service real estate brokerage and property management firm. Hirsch was a member of the Lynbrook Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Company #1 from 2011-18. He was elected president of the chamber in 2021 and served from 2021-22.
Burak has been an educator for 33 years. In 1993, she began teaching 2nd grade at Marion Street School in the Lynbrook district. Burak advanced to director of technology for three years and in 2001, she became Lynbrook’s Assistant Superintendent for Business.
Burak held various executive roles in the Nassau County Association of School Business Officials, ultimately becoming its president. She has also taught college-level courses on business in the educational setting.
In 2012, Burak became interim superintendent of schools, with an official position commencing in July 2013. In 2022 the U.S. Department of Education recognized Lynbrook as a Blue Ribbon School.