45th Precinct Council honors six in May

Joe Oddo, former Pelham Bay Taxpayers president, will be posthumously honored at the 45th Precinct Community Council’s annual breakfast in May.

The 45th Precinct Community Council will honor six community leaders they consider exemplary at their upcoming community breakfast.

The celebration of police and community unity is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 at Villa Barone Manor from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

Honors will go to Sal Grassia, Pat Devine, John Bonizio, Michelle Sajous, Karen Nani and posthumously to Joseph Oddo.

Reservations are currently being taken for seats at $15 each, said Bob Bieder, council president.

The cost of admission is less than the actual cost of the breakfast, which is subsidized by generous sponsor support, he said.

The fifth annual event, which will also highlight standout police work, brings together diverse communities from Co-op City to Castle Hill, said Bieder.

“It is coming together and breaking bread together with people from all walks of life,” said Bieder, adding the event is a tribute to the precinct’s diverse population of people from every continent except Antarctica.

The council president said that in selecting the breakfast honorees the board looks for volunteers who make communities a better place to live.

Bieder said he nominated John Bonizio, Westchester Square Business Improvement District chairman, to receive an award in recognition of work that made the community safer and improved quality-of-life.

“I was raised to believe that you learn, you earn and you return,” Bonizio said of his service.

Annie Boller and John Doyle, precinct council board members, said that they advocated honoring Joe Oddo, an activist who was president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association president when he passed in 2015.

Oddo had a career in public service and politics, said Doyle.

“Joe Oddo left us very suddenly, and I think this is a very meaningful way to pay tribute to someone who has blessed us with his kindness,” said Doyle, adding that Oddo was concerned about local traffic congestion in part because he had asthma and didn’t want to see others suffer.

Nani, the editor of the non-profit Island Current newspaper since 1997, has worked with the police department as a community activist,

“I was very flattered when John Doyle contacted me,” said Nani, who has extensive experience in working with the police department as a community member.

Shortly before Bill Bratton, former NYPD commissioner, left his position, Nani interviewed him on the future of the Rodman’s Neck range, she said.

She worked with the NYPD Harbor Unit analyzing manpower for a summer as part of Mayor Lindsay’s Urban Corps, an effort to draw college students to public service careers.

Later, on City Island, she worked with police to make sure vandalism did not occur during the construction of a playground outside of P.S. 175, and later worked with cops to start a basketball program for youth as a PTA member.

Honoree Pat Devine said the award was a “great honor” and he heaped praise on the council.

“The 45th Precinct Council is a sounding board and place the community can go to if they have a police issue,” said Devine.

To make reservations, call Bieder at (718) 828-4400 or email Boller at boogiedownbxgirl@aol.com.

Tickets should be ready to distribute by early April, said Bieder.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
John Bonizio

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