HIA-LI gala shines light on hunger, LGBT rights

Honorable: David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island LGBT Network, is among the HIA-LI's 2016 "Those Who Make a Difference" awardees. (Photo by Bob Giglione)

Community-minded Long Island business leaders will take a bow under the HIA-LI spotlight.

The Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island has filled an impressive dance card for its annual Those Who Make a Difference Gala, scheduled for Dec. 14 in Smithtown. In addition to posthumous awards for two well-respected Island professionals lost in 2016, the HIA-LI will honor a wide range of volunteers and professionals covering a spectrum of critical social issues, from LGBT rights to youth services to feeding the hungry.

Individual awards are going to Idalia Boczek, program center manager for Long Island Cares Inc., the food bank founded by late musician Harry Chapin; David Kilmnick, CEO of the Bay Shore-based Long Island LGBT Network; and Kathleen Deegan Dickson, a partner in the Land Use and Zoning Department at Uniondale law firm Forchelli Curto Deegan Schwartz Mineo & Terrana LLP.

Terri Alessi-Miceli: Impactful event.

Dickson, a board member at All Saints Regional Catholic School in Glen Cove, also sits on the Advisory Council at North Shore University Hospital and on the board of directors at the Rockville Centre-based Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation, which strives to help less-privileged students attend private Long Island Catholic schools.

Organizational award are slated to be accepted by Yvonne Grant, CEO and executive director of Commack-based Girl Scouts of Suffolk County; David Okorn, executive director of the Melville-based, charity-boosting Long Island Community Foundation; and Maryann Pfeiffer, executive director of West Islip-based mentoring organization Youth Enrichment Services.

The HIA-LI is also issuing volunteerism awards to Joy Graceffo, president of Huntington Station-based LI Essential Software & Training, and Mary Simmons, director of human resources consulting at Syosset-based labor-relations consultancy Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates.

Graceffo, a 30-year computer-industry veteran, has taught computer courses to veterans at the VA Medical Center in Northport and has presented various small-business-friendly seminars through the HIA-LI, the Syosset Woodbury Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. Simmons, who’s spent a quarter-century in the HR field, is co-chair of the Society of Human Resource Management’s Planning Committee and a longtime volunteer with the American Heart Association and the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, among other groups.

Terri Alessi-Miceli, president of the HIA-LI, said her organization always enjoys picking honorees and planning its annual gala, which wraps up another busy year of safeguarding and promoting Long Island’s commercial interests.

“Every year, we look forward to this very special night because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season and honor the success of Long Island business leaders who have made an impact on the community,” Alessi-Miceli said.

The posthumous awards are going to Stephen Antaki, a partner and 34-year veteran of Hauppauge accounting firm Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck and Co. who passed away in February, and Scott Martella, who died in an August car crash and was communications director for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Sponsors for the event include the Suffolk County chapter of the Association for Habitation and Residential Care, AVZ, Bridgehampton National Bank, Lessings, Long Island Cares, Portnoy Messinger and PSEG-LI.

The gala – including a cocktail hour, dinner, raffles, the awards ceremony and live entertainment – is scheduled to run 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 14 at Smithtown’s Stonebridge Golf Links & Country Club. Tickets cost $100 each for HIA-LI members and $115 each for nonmembers.

For registration and more information, including late sponsorship opportunities, click here or call (631) 543-5355.