‘Tis the season for giving, and Gordon Lewis, an Army veteran from North Merrick who served in Panama as an MP during the ’60s, was recipient of the 2014 Veterans Appreciation Program sponsored by Ms. New York Senior America. The program recognizes veterans and the vital work they do to keep the U.S. strong and safe at home, and its citizens safe when abroad.
“This is fantastic,” the normally subdued Lewis told this website at his home on Meadowbrook Road in North Merrick. “I live alone and this is terrific socialization for me,” he said.
From left are Merokian Jane Rubinstein, 2014 Ms. New York Senior America Queen; Veterans Appreciation Program recipient Gordon Lewis of North Merrick; Paul Pocius; CJ Marie of North Bellmore, Courier co-editor; and Pat Tropea, American Legion Post 1282 Ladies Auxiliary, from Levittown.
Merokian Jane Rubinstein, Ms. New York Senior America Queen for 2014, and two members of the Ms. NY Senior America organization – C.J. Marie of North Bellmore, co-editor of the organization’s Courier newsletter; and Pat Tropea, vice-president of children and youth for American Legion 1282 in Merrick – presented Lewis with several gifts this holiday season.
They include a new cell phone sporting three months of calls, a shirt, candy, a T-shirt, socks and other gifts.
Lewis is a lifelong resident of Merrick, having lived on Elsie Avenue and attended Smith Street School – now Chatterton, Merrick Avenue Junior High School and Calhoun High School. He was in the first graduating class at the then-new school. He served in Panama from 1965-67 as a Military Policeman in the 534 MP Company, returning to Merrick after an honorable discharge.
In The News
Lewis made headlines two years ago when he was one the first residents attacked by a fearsome pit bull that terrorized the normally quiet community of North Merrick for days. While the pit bull received headlines for attacking and seriously injuring a jogger in broad daylight as she jogged at the Brookside School track, Lewis was the first person attacked by the dog at 2 a.m. as he rode his bicycle.
He told this website he spent many days in hospital after the attack because “the attack tore up my leg.” He said that while it was a female dog that attacked him, a male pit bull bit into and damaged the metal structure on his bicycle.
Lewis was chosen as recipient of the recognition with the help of Pat Yngstrom, former county commissioner for Veterans affairs and past-commander of the North Bellmore American Legion Post 1746. Paul Pocius, who rents the downstairs of his home on Meadowbrook Road to Lewis, said he was approached by Paul Zydor, a commander of an American Legion post in Freeport, after Zydor had received a call from Yngstrom inquiring about Lewis’s whereabouts.
“I knew Gordon from Temple Beth-Am,” said Pocius. Lewis was a custodian at the temple for five years. Subsequently, Pocius rented out the downstairs to Lewis. Of course, Lewis was an easy find by this time.
Ms. NY Senior America
The Ms. New York Senior America Pageant, held annually, spotlights and honors senior women. It celebrates women of achievement, age 60 and over whom, with their talent, abilities and positive projection of aging, best exemplify what senior women can and do accomplish, says its website.
The lady crowned Ms. New York Senior America goes on to represent the state in the national Ms. Senior America Pageant. During her reign she travels throughout the state as role model of the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all senior Americans.
2014 Queen Rubinstein said she and the organization speak and perform showcases at several venues, including VA hospitals, senior centers and libraries, and participate in the Town of Hempstead’s GLO program – among many events, in which they promote the grace and values of women over the age of 60, and promote positive views on aging.
Former pageant participants all belong to the Cameo Club, which holds special events each year to celebrate birthdays and to recognize women over 60. Many, such as Tropea and Marie, are Seasoned Steppers, a dance troupe that models itself after the Rockettes, the famous kick line dance troupe. Indeed, Tropea is also director of the annual Pageant.
Marleen Schuss is director of Ms. New York Senior America, co-ordinating all activities and scheduling for the organization.
The 2015 Ms. New York Senior America pageant will be held at Hofstra University on Sunday, May 3, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
For information on the Ms. New York Senior America organization, visit www.newyorksenioramerica.org.