Bronx brothers volunteer work a ‘family tradition’

Luke Greco volunteered with the Friends of Pelham Bay Park beginning this past April and looks forward to returning this fall.
Photo courtesy of Diana Greco

A commitment to hard work and helping their community runs strong for three brothers from the Bronx.

Born and raised near Pelham Parkway North and Pelham Gardens, brothers Matthew, Marc and Luke Greco have made it a ‘family tradition’ of sorts by volunteering with the Friends of Pelham Bay Park whose goal is to conserve Pelham Bay Park’s green space and preserve its natural beauty for everyone to enjoy.

It was approximately a decade ago when their mother Diana discovered FPBP through a flyer found at their parish of St. Theresa Church, advertising the local environmental organization and its commitment to maintaining the iconic borough park and felt it would be a great learning opportunity for her sons.

According to Lizbeth Gonzalez, FPBP president, Matthew Greco was the first member of the Greco family to volunteer with the group as a Cardinal Spellman High School student fulfilling his a community service requirement and did not leave until his graduation from the school.

Matthew’s brother Marc, who was also attended Spellman, learned about FPBP from his older brother and one day attended a session with him.

During his experience, Marc worked alongside Matthew and many volunteers inside certain areas of the park most notably constructing a wooden footbridge at Hunter Island where some areas are prone to flooding.

Each spring, FPBP joins the Adirondack Mountain Club in a Lagoon Cleanup at Pelham Bay Park in which volunteers paddle across the water while others work on the Bartow-Pell side removing debris.

In May 2009, Marc and Gonzalez paddled a canoe back and forth from the Orchard Beach launch to the Bartow-Pell shore as part of the lagoon clean up efforts which saw a Parks Department truck carting away the many black trash bags filled by FPBP’s volunteers along with some tires and an old sink.

In November 2010, Marc lent FPBP a hand by removing invasive plants and bushes choking Turtle Cove and helped in planting native plant species there.

“It was undoubtably a great experience volunteering with the Friends of Pelham Bay Park and I endorse their mission in preserving the park which is such a vital component of our borough and New York City,” Marc said.

Starting this past April, Luke Greco, the third member of the Greco family to volunteer with FPBP, helped in the removal of invasive plant species at the Bartow-Pell woods.

He described volunteer work with FPBP as an enriching learning experience and looks forward to working with the group once again this fall.

“This experience taught me that certain things need to be done in order for our communities and families to thrive and survive. It’s hard work, but it teaches you a lot about life and the benefits of hard work,” Luke said.

Matthew worked with FPBP until graduating high school and later attended Syracuse University. A decade later, he is now employed as a civil engineer for a fortune 500 company, according to his father Michael who attributes their volunteer work to instilling their hardworking ethic.

Following in Matthew’s footsteps, Marc continued volunteering with FPBP before attending Boston University and he plans to enter law school in the fall.

“Our trail and volunteer work at Pelham Bay Park allows us to protect a very special environment,” Gonzalez explained. “We like to make new friends and have fun. Watching our student volunteers grow into motivated young men and women is the icing on the cake.”

Gonzalez thanks Michael and Diana Greco for supporting their children and so faithfully driving them to the park to perform community service.

If interested in conducting trail work with FPBP, visit their website, their Facebook page or contact their trails coordinator chairman Clint Robinson at

More from Around NYC