On what would have been her 100th birthday, the management of the Hutchinson Metro Center lit its buildings in blue and white for Mother Teresa.
The humanitarian nun founded the Missionaries of Charity order, whose habits are blue and white. The lighting marked the end of a day of service and remembrance for Mother Teresa taking place in churches, charities, and in the streets throughout the world.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca asked Joe Kelleher, executive director of leasing and property management for the Hutchinson Metro Center at 1200-50 Waters Place, to recognize Mother Teresa, winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.The office complex’s two buildings were lit just after sundown on Thursday, August 26.
“We had a fantastic reaction to our own ‘day of service’ in honor of Mother Teresa, and this is a wonderful end to a wonderful day,” Vacca said. “I want future generations to remember Mother Teresa and what she did to help the poor, sick, and elderly.”
For Kelleher, who also serves as chairman of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, the decision to light the office park was an easy one. He said that Mother Teresa exemplifies the kind of service to the neediest populations that many of the tenants in the Hutch-Metro buildings provide. He cited Mercy College, Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the New York City Administration of Children’s Services as examples of tenants who have a commitment to serve vulnerable populations, and said that there are many others.
“One of the things that we do here is embrace the community,” Kelleher said. “We have tenants who go out on a daily basis and provide needed services that I am sure Mother Teresa would have been proud of. This is a way to send a message that helping your community is a way of life.”
Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Lenny Caro said that he was proud that the chamber’s headquarters are housed in the development. He said it is fitting because the Chamber is of service to the community in anyway possible.
“This highlights the Chamber’s mission of serving the community,” Caro said. “It is important that we recognize people like Mother Teresa who have a positive impact on others.”
Father Richard Gorman, the chairman of Community Board 12, who presided over a brief prayer service before the lighting, called on God to bless the people gathering from all walks of life to honor Mother Teresa. He spoke of Mother Teresa as a great role model for young people. He said she should also be a source of pride for Albanian-American and Indian-Americans, because Mother Teresa was born in Albania and founded her mission in India.
“We need more role models like Mother Teresa,” Gorman said. “She was a very tiny woman, but very straightforward with a powerful presence. We are also honoring two thriving communities in the Bronx, Albanian and Indian-Americans, and their growing contributions to America.”
The lighting at the Hutchinson Metro Center took place in response to controversy surrounding a decision by the owner of the Empire State Building not to light that building in honor of in honor of Mother Teresa. According to published reports, the Empire State Building’s owner has a policy of not lighting the building for religious figures, but does for sports and entertainment figures.