Frank Lovece in Building Operations on November 14, 2014
Organized by community-newspaper publisher Straus News and Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the awards, now in their eighth year, honor workers who have gone "above and beyond to make New Yorkers’ lives better." Nominees are suggested by readers of Strauss publications (including Our Town and The Westsider) and chosen by an executive committee of their editors and representative from 32BJ and real estate companies.
John Battle, a doorman at the rental building Eastwood Towers, 355 East 72nd Street in Manhattan, managed by Douglas Elliman Property Management, was honored as Doorman of the Year at their annual ceremony, held on October 23. He was chosen, the union said, "due to the long-lasting friendships, honesty, and hardworking nature that he has brought to the job for the past 24 years." In one instance, after not seeing an elderly woman in two days, he asked the superintendent to check on her. The super found the woman in her apartment with a broken hip, unable to get up, and the staffers got her the medical attention she needed.
In the separate category Doorwoman of the Year, this year's winner, Marilyn Rivera, has been stationed at Windsor Court, an Ogden CAP Properties-managed rental building at 155 East 31st Street, for 21 years — taking a 4:20 a.m. bus from Saylorsburg, Penn., every day of her commute. "I have been so happy working here," she said in a statement, adding, "It really feels like my second family." One resident even asks her if his pants match his shirt every morning as he heads to work, she said.
Super of the Year is Stafford Woodley of yet another rental property,the six-building, Olnick Organization-managed Lenox Terrace, centered at 10 West 135th Street in Central Harlem. The former DOB inspector began his career aboard ships as a second assistant engineering officer, managing boiler rooms and checking steam pressure levels. At 19, he moved to New York and put himself through marine-engineering school. While working for the city, he held a second job at a city hospital monitoring its boiler room, air conditioning units, steam-pressured pipes and heating systems.
The Fire This Time
The Life Saver Award went to Charles DiBlasi, a porter at the rental building The Morrison, at 360 East 57th Street. In October, he helped dozens of tenants escape a fire when the smoke alarms malfunctioned and remained silent, the union said.
Seeing smoke collecting in the stairs, DiBlasi recalled, he first helped the super get downstairs from a smoke-filled apartment on the second floor. Telling the doorman, Maxwell, to call 911, DiBlasi soon found himself hurrying tenants out of their apartments, instructing them down to the street. Alternating floors to roust the residents, the two men made it to the top floor by climbing all 24 flights. On the way down, DiBlasi collapsed on the third floor, where firefighters found him, nearly unconscious. He was given oxygen and sent to a hospital, and returned to work after only a day of hospitalization. He has since been made a doorman at the building.
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