Friends celebrate Beth Abraham’s 90th year at dinner dance

Friends and employees of the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services came together to celebrate 90 years of caring for the chronically ill, disabled, and elderly in a celebration on Friday, June 18.

The celebration at Beth Abraham Health Service’s headquarters at 612 Allerton Avenue paid tribute to legislators, community leaders and long-time employees in an awards ceremony honoring six people, including president of the Allerton Avenue Homeowners and Tenants Association Sal Castorina, professor and chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation and Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center Dr. Avital Fast, corporate director of quality management/risk management Wendy Brizer-Maciol, and chief financial officer for Beth Abraham Stephen Mann.

Also honored were Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who were cited as playing important roles in supporting the mission of Beth Abraham through the drafting of legislation.

“Beth Abraham is an institution that defines quality care and improve the lives of tens of thousands of senior New Yorkers,” Klein said in a statement. “I am honored to be recognized as part of their 90th anniversary celebration and I look forward to continuing to work with Beth Abraham as we stand committed to serving Bronx seniors.”

Budget negotiations kept Klein and Rivera in Albany, but representatives accepted the awards on their behalf. Award winner Sal Castorina played an important role during a period of expansion for the institution as a member of Community Board 11. He is also on the board of the Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation, which was founded with help from the medical provider.

“When I was on Community Board 11, we would help Beth Abraham get the votes they needed to expand because we felt that it was a worthy cause,” Castorina said. “Looking at the patients at Beth Abraham and seeing them develop and be cared for by the staff is what I remember most about my years working with them.”

Wendy Brizer-Maciol started at Beth Abraham as a dental hygienist from the Columbia University’s training program in 1983, and has gone on to hold five different positions at Beth Abraham. She recalled that her first assignment at the hospital was bending toothbrushes so patients with certain disabilities could use them.

“Because I had the opportunity to work in so many different roles it helped me grow as an individual and as an employee,” Brizer-Maciol said. “I met my husband at Beth Abraham, and we had my son.”

Stephen Mann was hailed by Beth Abraham’s president and CEO Michael Fassler as a man who was instrumental in his 33 years in expanding services to many more locations, and said that at one point Mann saved the institution. He also remembered Mann pitching in during a union strike in the early 1980s.

Borough President Diaz named the day after the service provider.

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