Written by Rich Forestano: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00
DeBartolo works for the Elmont School District as a special assistant to the superintendent of schools for community affairs. She can often be seen at many events in the Elmont community.
“I’m still writing thank you letters to everyone who showed their support,” DeBartolo exclaimed. “It was something very special for me that so many people got together and decided to give me the honor and give me the key and to be Grand Marshal for such an important parade.”
New York Racing Association (NYRA) Community Relations Director Joanne Adams got the ball rolling on the parade when approached by the organizations. She attended a bevy of community meetings and “pow-wowed” with Elmont residents to hash out details of the event.
“We have worked with local civic associations on this event for a while,” she said. “This parade rightly serves as the kickoff event for Belmont Stakes Week. In terms of the community looking for an economic boom, the race and events are perfect.”
Adams serves as the go-between for NYRA and local communities. She said DeBartolo was the perfect choice as recipient of the Elmont key. Adams also serves on the parade committee.
“She goes above and beyond in her role in the community,” Adams stated. “She is so phenomenal and so deserving. The key is in its rightful place this year.”
The parade was formed four years ago, after the Community Coalition Council of Elmont (CCC), which consists, local Elmont civic associations, approached NYRA to hold a parade in the Stakes’ hometown. According to Belmont Parade Committee Chairman Ralph Esposito, each civic gave input in the process, with a majority rule.
“I’ve run the parade committee for four years,” Esposito stated. “It was a great parade. The community was 100 percent behind us. The schools we have between the high school and elementary schools, the sports leagues, VFW, American Legion; everyone came out in full force. We had more than 700 people marching.”
Esposito was the first Grand Marshal of the parade, followed by former NYRA President Charlie Hayward, Umberto’s Pizzeria owner Rosario Fuschetto and now, DeBartolo. Esposito feels with the racetrack, being the longest of the Triple Crown tracks, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another has a long road, or track rather, ahead of him.
“It’s a very long track,” he said. “All I can say is good luck. It would be great that he does it but I think a long shot is going to win it.”
Ruler on Ice, a 24-1 shot, won the race in 2011. Drosselmeyer at 13-1 won in 2010.
The parade featured marching bands, the Belmont starting gate and Sam the Bugler. Local fire and police department, schools, civic associations, veteran groups, churches, children’s sports groups, charitable organizations, local businesses, and other community groups also marched in the parade.
“This was the best parade so far,” Parade Committee member Claudine Hall said. “It was great and with a Triple Crown possibly on the horizon, it’s a win-win.”