William A. Morris, Jr. honored with the Maniscalco Community Service Award
On Wednesday, February 3, Borough President James S. Oddo hosted a ceremony honoring William A. Morris Jr. with the annual Maniscalco Award. After the award ceremony, BP Oddo and the Maniscalco family unveiled the inscription of Morris’ name on a plaque in the entryway of Borough Hall.
The Albert V. Maniscalco Community Service Award was established in 1986 in honor of the ninth borough president. Maniscalco's tenure from 1955 to 1965 saw the creation of the Greenbelt and the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The award celebrates the civic-mindedness and tireless energy of individuals or organizations that work to help community members in need and to make Staten Island a better place.
William A. Morris Jr. was born and raised on Staten Island. His family heritage on Staten Island dates back to the early 1700s, and he is a descendant of the last slave sold on Staten Island. He graduated from P.S. 18 and Port Richmond High School and attended Wagner College before serving our nation with the US Army during World War II. After he enlisted in 1939, he served in the Pacific and European theaters of operation, including the Normandy Beach D-day invasion, Battle of the Bulge and served for 5 years in the in the all black 369th as a sergeant until his honorable discharge. A book published last year, The Soldier that Wagged Her Tail, written by his daughter Dolores N. Morris, tells the wartime story of Morris and his constant companion, a little terrier dog Trixie. Morris married Norcie Allen in 1943, and together they raised four children and two foster children. He and his wife have run the food pantry at Faith United Methodist Church for the last 30 years. Morris has also served as a Boy Scout leader of troop 47 for 35 years. He and his wife received the Silver Beaver, the highest award of service and scouting for their great work. In addition, he founded an ran the Morris Softball League as P.S. 19 for 16 years, serving more than 900 children each summer.
"Mr. Morris has had an amazing life. At 96 years old, he continues to share his story and values with the young people of Staten Island,” noted BP Oddo. “Thank you, Mr. Morris, for everything you have given to Staten Island and this country. Thank you for enduring the things you did."
"People like Bill focus on making a difference when they can," said Albert Maniscalco’s daughter Linda Calarco. "They light the candle in their communities, rather than curse the darkness."
Offering words of wisdom to the youth of Staten Island, Morris said, "Do what you can to make this world a better place. There has to be a little more love in this country and in the world.”
"I can't think of any one more suited to receive the Maniscalco Award,” said Morris’ daughter, Dolores. “Dad has always been about community service, especially to the youth of Staten Island. There are thousands of Staten Island young people now adults, who have been touched by his dedication. I'm thrilled that he is finally being recognized for all he has done."
The award ceremony was catered by the Port Richmond High School Culinary Arts Program. Members of the Tottenville High School Jazz Ensemble played a musical selection during the event. CTV and the St. George Theatre sponsored the award ceremony.
Past winners of the Maniscalco Award:
Richard E. Diamond, John L.F. Sipp, Norma D’Arrigo, Allan Weissglass, Martin Stallone, Roger E. Acker, Reverend Robert I. Gannon, Michael F. Manzulli, Michael J. Petrides, Marie G. Martino, Frank Powers, Susie Hyun Sook Beidel, Brian J. Laline, Reverend Hattie Smith-Davis, and Joseph V. Madory, Lou Caravone, Jose Joe Valentin, Nancy Passeri, retired Borough Commander Anthony Marra, Reverend Terry Troia, Senator John J. Marchi, Wendy Pellegrino, Fred Ariemma, Joanne E. Gerenser, Ph.D., Dr. S. Chitoor Govindaraj, Kathryn Krause Rooney, the Siller Family, George and Maria Esposito, the Mannix Family, and the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation.
BP Oddo, Build it Back announce concentrated effort to help Sandy homeowners relocate during construction
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery, in partnership with Borough President James Oddo, have announced the procurement for new temporary housing for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Sandy who need to relocate while their homes undergo construction.
HRO is calling on landlords throughout Sandy-impacted communities to offer available apartments for Build it Back applicants to temporarily rent. All landlords will be reimbursed up to designated rental amounts specified by Build it Back. Assisting families in finding temporary housing with allow the program to continue to accelerate construction as it moves aggressively towards Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of having all Sandy homes complete by the end of the year.
Landlords interested in helping can call Build it Back at 212-615-8329.
“As we move forward towards the Mayor’s goal of completing Build it Back by the end of the year, we are taking unprecedented steps to assist homeowners needing to relocate due to construction,” said Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. “Building on the pilot program we launched with the Mayor’s Fund and NYDIS this past year, we will be vastly expanding our resources to help homeowners find temporary apartments and to help them with all aspects of the move-out process. Additionally, we are looking to partner with landlords in the community who can offer temporary leases. As we reflect on our New Year’s resolutions, we are calling on New Yorkers to make a renewed commitment to helping their Sandy-impacted neighbors.”
“So much work has gone into the efforts to elevate and reconstruct homes affected by Sandy, and unfortunately the final obstacle in getting many people back home is finding them temporary housing while the work on their homes takes place,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Candidly, from a landlord’s point of view, short term leases are not ideal, but we are asking Staten Islanders who have the space to offer a little cup of kindness and make their vacant apartments available so those affected by Sandy can temporarily move in while their homes are reconstructed or elevated."
Hundreds attend the film screening of