Mineola is a special place, but it would be nothing without the people who have helped build it up.
This month, the village and Chamber of Commerce are asking residents to help recognize those who have left an indelible mark in Mineola by nominating them for the John S. Davanzo Wall of Honor Award.
The John S. DaVanzo Wall of Honor Award was established last year to honor members of the Mineola community who have dedicated themselves to helping make the village a better place to live. In its inaugural year, the plaque was given to Lou Sanders, founder of the Mineola American and Mineola Chamber of Commerce. Award recipients receive a plaque that go on the Wall, which will sit in Village Hall once the lobby is renovated in the near future.
The award’s namesake, John S. DaVanzo was a lifelong Mineola resident affectionally nicknamed “Mr. Mineola,” for his dedication to the community. A Mineola High School graduate and D-Day survivor, DaVanzo was involved in almost every facet of village life, including the fire department, library board and village board, in addition to serving as a deputy mayor, Town of North Hempstead councilman and town clerk. Mr. Mineola left a high standard, and now, the village and Chamber are looking for someone who has demonstrated a similar life of service to Mineola and its residents.
“We’re looking for somebody who’s got a commitment to the village, someone who stands above the rest,” said Mayor Scott Strauss. “There are a lot of dedicated and community-oriented people in Mineola who do great things. There’s a whole host of people who are worthy of this award, so this is not going to be an easy decision.”
The Wall of Honor is a joint venture between the Chamber of Commerce and the village. Tony Lubrano, Chamber of Commerce president, noted that their goal is to induct a new person every year and they wanted to come up with a nomination process that was not only impartial, but could go well into the future.
“We wanted to come up with a process that was above reproach, something that everyone would see as a true selection process, not just someone who did something good last year,” Lubrano said. “We wanted a process that could stand the test of time.”
The two groups decided to put together a committee, which would have members appointed each year by the Chamber of Commerce president and mayor at the time. The committee is comprised of two members from the Chamber board, two from the village board and three from the community. Each member serves a one year appointment. So far, the committee consists of Chamber members Steve Ford and Gary Katz, as well as village trustees Paul Pereira and George Durham.
Residents are invited to nominate people (both Mineola and non-Mineola residents, alive or deceased) they feel have made a significant impact in the village. An application for nomination can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook page, as well as can be picked up at their March 15 meeting.
“Anyone can nominate anybody who really made a difference in Mineola. We want this to be open to the public,” Lubrano said. “The more involvement, the better.”
Applications will be accepted by the Chamber the entire month of March, ending with being delivered or postmarked no later than April 1. All applications will then be given to the committee, who will decide on a recipient by the May 17 Chamber of Commerce meeting. The award will be presented to the honoree at the June Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“We really want to encourage the public to please speak up and nominate anyone they think has made a difference in Mineola,” Lubrano said. “This is a community project. It’ll be here long after we’re gone and is a visual representation of what made Mineola what it is.”
Find out more by visiting the Chamber website at www.mineolachamber.com.