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TOB Women of Distinction Honors

Local Residents Cited for Various Good Deeds

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, together with members of the Town Board, honored eight Town of Oyster Bay residents as recipients at the 12th annual  “Women of Distinction” Awards Ceremony, held at Town Hall March 23. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of women who either live or work in the Town.

“The Women of Distinction Program has certainly proven to be a memorable tradition, honoring women who stand as role models for the younger generation in the Town of Oyster Bay,” Supervisor Venditto said. “These women are a shining example of the outstanding citizenship that has made the Town of Oyster Bay such a special place to live and raise a family.”

This year’s designees included several women from the Massapequa area. They are:

Distinguished Woman in Government: Doreen Ciappa of Plainedge

Doreen Ciappa lost her daughter Natalie to a heroin overdose in 2008, just prior to her scheduled graduation from Plainedge High School. Doreen and her husband took a tragic event in their lives and turned it into something that will ultimately help countless people. With the assistance of local government, the Ciappa’s worked tirelessly to show that heroin does not discriminate and can infiltrate into the even the best child’s life. In an effort to alert other parents of the dangers of heroin abuse in any community, the Ciappa’s created Natalie’s Law, which was passed unanimously in both the Nassau and Suffolk County Legislatures. This law requires police to notify school districts about heroin arrests on Long Island. Doreen has not stopped there; she continues to raise the awareness about this epidemic that does not discriminate, as many teenagers are facing the pressures and temptations on a daily basis. Doreen and her family’s measures will help stop others from going through the pain of a loss that could have been prevented. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Doreen Ciappa as Distinguished Woman in Government.

Distinguished Woman Humanitarian: Tamara Baker of Massapequa/Farmingdale

Tamara Baker is the founder and driving force behind “We Care Blankets,” a nonprofit group which knits and crochets blankets that are distributed to children fighting cancer in area hospitals and camps. About every five weeks, a ‘wrap’ is held, where blankets are collected, wrapped and packed for delivery, all done by volunteers. At each of these events as many as 250 blankets are readied to comfort a sick child. Any money donated to “We Care” is used to purchase yarn, which is given to crafters to transform into these comforting blankets. Tamara’s tireless efforts have brought together some 100 volunteers to prepare the blankets and then distribute them to some 30 area hospitals. She has helped bring a sense of community to all who work with her in this cause, but most of all has brought comfort to countless children who are undergoing chemotherapy. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Tamara Baker as Distinguished Woman Humanitarian.

Distinguished Woman Volunteer: Sarita Keyser of Massapequa

Sarita Keyser has been described as a kind-hearted, loving, overly generous, giving, genuine, down-to-earth and fair individual. She is one of those people who is always available to lend a hand, volunteering her time to organizations, causes and individuals. If somebody is down on their luck and says “no thank you” when she asks how she can help, she will find a way to help anyway. Sarita has volunteered her time to numerous charities and organizations, such as Cerebral Palsy, the Interfaith Soup Kitchen and various cancer-related causes. She often spends her Thanksgivings serving dinner to the homeless or those otherwise in need. Even when she hosts a private garage sale at her home, Sarita has profits earmarked for some charity, usually for cancer awareness groups. Through all her efforts she even finds time to be an active member of her temple, where she does volunteer work and helps in fundraising efforts. The Town of Oyster Bay is pleased to honor Sarita Keyser as Distinguished Woman Volunteer.