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Volume XXVII, Number 5738
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012

Going Beyond The Call To Rise To The Challenge

Parkies throughout the agency suffered the negative effects of Hurricane Sandy in their personal lives; however, many still went to work to serve our agency and city. We would like to highlight a few extraordinary Parkies and thank them for their service.

Mary Cali: Chief of Recreation, Staten Island
Mary has identified, visited, comforted, fed, sheltered, and ensured that donations and important information were made available to NYC Parks staff and their families on Staten Island who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Mary has come to work every day since the storm, working tirelessly for fellow Parkies, and has done so despite the fact that her own home has sustained major damage and she lost many of her personal belongings as well. She is a Staten Island Parks' hero.

Jack Rohan, Charlie Gili Jr., Patrick Orna, and Kathy Parham: Park Supervisors, Queens
Jack, Charlie, Patrick, and Kathy worked tirelessly in the days leading up to the storm to protect our properties by overseeing the construction of sand berms and the placement of sandbags at vulnerable locations. After, they rode out the storm overnight at the Rockaway Garage so they would be on location to assess damage as soon as the storm passed. As the flood waters rose and overtook the building, the team waded through waist-deep water and climbed into trucks to eventually escape. They returned to work early the next morning and have continued to work 12-hour shifts to coordinate the massive cleanup effort in Rockaway--this despite most having no power at home and some suffering serious damage to their homes and cars.

Roberto Sangroni Jr. and Lisa McBayne: Park Supervisors, Brooklyn

During the height of the storm, Roberto and Lisa leapt into action to address a large section of the seawall at Shore Parkway that had been destroyed and created a potentially life threatening condition. This was despite also working a 12 hour shift and dealing with the disaster in Coney Island. While the wind was howling, Lisa and Roberto worked with area PRM Alex Mezzatesta to caution off the area in the dark. It was no easy task, and they operated with great professionalism and an amazing attitude. This hazard was not in their sector, but they volunteered to tackle the problem to ensure the safety of the public. Their efforts are inspirational.

Andrea Street, John Mulvey, and Tiffani Phillips: PEP Sergeants

Andrea, John, and Tiffani braved the storm while water gushed into parkland and facilities at Hudson River Park, causing massive flooding and hazardous conditions. The three Parkies worked together to coordinate an evacuation effort to successfully get all park patrons and tenants to safety. All left their families to work 24 to 36 hours to preserve parks property and human life.

I greatly appreciate all Parkies that have been working so hard throughout the storm and recovery efforts. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share, please email them to


Veronica M. White


Hurricane Sandy caused extreme devastation across parts of New York City, leaving many New Yorkers reeling from the impact – including many Department of Parks and Recreation staff in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island – and many of you have already donated your time and energy to helping your colleagues and fellow New Yorkers.

For those who wish to provide financial assistance, City Parks Foundation is now accepting donations from Parks staff to help fellow Parks employees. City Parks Foundation will work with Parks to distribute these generous gifts equally to Parks employees who have lost their homes and apartments due to Hurricane Sandy.

If you wish to donate, please send a check payable to the City Parks Foundation (with memo line “Sandy”) to Laurie Daniels at City Parks Foundation, Arsenal Room 280 by Friday, November 16.


“Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway.”

John Wayne
(1907 - 1979)
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