Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin hosted a celebration of Women’s History Month during the town’s annual Pathfinder Awards event at Hempstead Town Hall. Women recognized during the ceremony included Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilwoman Melissa Miller, Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll. Also attending to support their female colleagues were Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Councilman Tom Muscarella and Councilman Chris Carini.
“We are fortunate to have so many women on the Hempstead Town Board, as they bring kind hearts, hard work and dedication to the job of serving more than 770,000 residents,” said Supervisor Clavin. “I also offer my congratulations to the seven female residents who received the town’s Pathfinder Awards for their commitment to making a difference in their communities.”
Senior Councilwoman Goosby is the first African American woman to serve on the Hempstead Town Board. She represents Councilmanic District 1, one of six districts which were created as a direct result of her historic lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead, which argued that the town’s at large voting system discriminated against the minority population. Senior Councilwoman Goosby has served town residents for more than 20 years. Supervisor Clavin and the Town Board recently named Town Hall Plaza as Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza, in recognition of her many years of service to the community.
“Congratulations to the 2022 Pathfinder Award recipients as we recognize their outstanding contributions to America’s largest township,” said Senior Councilwoman Goosby. “The Town of Hempstead is proud to recognize National Women’s History Month.”
Councilwoman Miller joined the Town Board last month, filling the vacancy left by Bruce Blakeman, who was elected County Executive. She brings years of experience to the team, having served as a New York State Assemblywoman. Councilwoman Miller has advocated to enhance accessibility to programs for disabled children and adults, and was a key part of the passing of the Compassionate Care Act. In addition to raising two children with complicated medical issues, she has worked for more than 25 years in professional and volunteer capacities to train hundreds of pediatric residents in caring for chronically ill children.
“I am honored to serve alongside so many accomplished women on the Hempstead Town Board,” added Councilwoman Miller. “It’s incredible to see the positive impact that just these seven women alone have had on our community, and I salute their dedication to our town.”
Town Clerk Murray was the first woman to be elected Supervisor in the history of the Town of Hempstead, serving from 2003 until 2016. Kate was also the first woman elected Town Clerk, and the first woman elected to the New York State Assembly’s 19th District. Kate spearheaded the creation of the town’s Renewable Energy Park, a new facility at Camp ANCHOR and led the town through difficult times, including Superstorm Sandy and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I take tremendous pride in serving alongside so many amazing women on the Hempstead Town Board, including Senior Councilwoman Goosby, Councilwoman Miller and Receiver Driscoll,” said Murray. “As demonstrated by today’s Pathfinder Award recipients, women play an essential role in making our communities a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.”
Receiver Driscoll offered the Keynote Speech. She took over as Receiver of Taxes when Clavin became Supervisor, carrying on his legacy of making town programs and services more easily accessible and convenient for residents. Driscoll has continued offering the town’s free taxpayer forums, helping residents make sense of complicated property assessments, taxes and helping them save money.
“I was happy to offer today’s keynote speech, however my achievements pale in comparison to those of the seven women we are honoring today,” said Driscoll. “A special thanks to Supervisor Clavin, Senior Councilwoman Goosby, Councilwoman Miller, Town Clerk Murray and the entire Town Board for helping to make these Pathfinder Awards a success.”
The following women are the recipients of the 2022 Town of Hempstead Pathfinder Award:
Tiffany Capers of Elmont
Tiffany is a longtime resident of Elmont and volunteers many hours with the local civic association, the PTA and Elmont Police Activity League. She also represents the community as a school board trustee for the Elmont Union Free School District. Tiffany worked closely with Supervisor Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board to craft legislation that banned the sale of vapes and cigarettes within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.
Gina Centauro of Franklin Square
Gina – a licensed contractor and interior and landscape designer – is the founder of the charitable organization, Rescuing Families, Inc., which helps fix and rebuild houses for people suffering from disabilities and financial hardships. Growing up closely with three siblings, Gina’s biggest motivator is her sister Dina who struggles with autism and deafness. From a very young age, Gina has devoted her life to caring for her sister and always ensuring she has a comfortable place to live. She believes that by transforming someone’s home, you can transform their life. She has transformed numerous homes in our community, thereby transformed the lives of many local residents who needed it most.
Norma Gonsalves of East Meadow
Norma is a former Nassau County legislator, including several years as Presiding Officer, led the way on a number of public safety and quality-of-life issues that earned Nassau the distinction of being one of the safest communities in the nation. Norma spearheaded the creation of the Council of East Meadow Community Organizations, better known as CEMCO, helping to advocate for area residents. She is a dedicated member of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, East Meadow Kiwanis and has been involved in many local PTA groups. Norma was also one of the first people to recognize the need for Narcan programs and training to help educate the public about the dangers of opioid abuse.
Brianna O’Hagan of East Rockaway
For nearly a decade, Brianna has been organizing a charity toy drive for NYU Langone Cancer Center for Kids, donating thousands of toys and gift cards every holiday season. Brianna is also the general manager of the family owned restaurant, EGP – Eat GastroPub – where he organizing an annual fall festival that, over the years, has raised more than $70,000 for local families in need. What’s more, Brianna has spearheaded a local “Adopt a Family” drive where she organizes and distributes local children’s wish lists for the holiday season. This year alone, Brianna was able to help 23 families get everything on their list as well as some additional food supplies. Even better, Brianna and her father adopted five families themselves for Thanksgiving, providing each family with a full Thanksgiving meal and plenty of groceries.
Mary Purdie of Hempstead
Mary recently founded “Senior Lives Matter, hashtag LetsTalkAboutIt” – providing seniors with a platform on which to chat with their fellow seniors … as well as information on how to avoid scams, improve health, manage finances and much more. As a retired social worker, Mary is no stranger to helping people in need. She contributed to a community corrective program that offered an alternative to incarceration for women. She also served as a counselor in a number of local organizations, and currently serves as the president of the tenant association for her senior housing unit.
Suzanne Reek of Wantagh
Suzanne served 20 years in the NYPD, retiring as a sergeant after a long career in community policing. Back home on Long Island, however, Suzanne is known best for her work with Nassau Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America. She has served as Executive Director for the past 17 years – overseeing more than 100 sensory-friendly programs for people with autism and their families. Last year, the organization’s Bike to the Beach event raised nearly $200,000 for local families.
Joni Blenn of East Meadow
In a surprise announcement by Supervisor Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board, Joni received the town’s Angie M. Cullin Pathfinder Award, which recognizes outstanding town employees. Joni – known as one of the friendliest and most dedicated employees – has been working behind the scenes on the Pathfinder Awards for years, and reads the bios of honorees during the events. Although she spent most of her tenure creating and laying out graphics in the Communications Office, Joni has worked closely with nearly every department in the Town of Hempstead and is highly revered by everyone who has had the pleasure of working with her. She is also an avid volunteer for St. Francis Polish National Catholic Church in East Meadow and the East Meadow Kiwanis Club.