In The Spirit Of Teddy Roosevelt

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Joe Iavarone and Jack Biondo honored by South-Syosset-Woodbury Republican Club

Teddy Roosevelt impersonator James Foote in-between Teddy Roosevelt honorees Joe Iavarone (left) and Joe Biondo

Public service always held a prominent place in President Theodore Roosevelt’s life. To that end, the South Syosset-Woodbury Republican Club recently hosted its 22nd Annual Teddy Roosevelt Achievement Award Dinner at the Woodbury Country Club. Presented for the past two-plus decades to those persons who have demonstrated their commitment to public service through government or service organizations, this year’s honorees are Jack Biondo and Joe Iavarone. Past recipients include the Honorable Jack M. Martins, the Honorable John Venditto, Deacon James Murphy and Brendan O’Sullivan of the American Legion Post No. 175. Christopher A. Renke, Esq., president of the South Syosset-Woodbury Republican Club, sees both men as being well-deserving of this year’s award.

“This year’s honorees, Joseph Iavarone of Iavarone Brothers and Jack Biondo of Plaza Realty Properties, LLC, unquestionably exhibit such a passion and commitment to public service through their respective efforts with various charitable organizations, chambers of commerce, churches and local communities,” Renke said. “Their invaluable commitment has certainly made a lasting impact in the lives of many.”

From left: Jennifer and Jack Biondo

Longtime Syosset resident Biondo heads up Plaza Realty Properties, LLC, the family real estate business that was founded 50 years ago, and owns and manages commercial properties throughout New York and Florida, with several situated in Syosset and Woodbury. He was one of the original members of the Syosset-Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, where he held the position of the vice president and honorary director. He plays a major role in Syosset’s Holiday Tree Lighting Spectacular, purchasing the tree, donating food, arranging entertainment and giving use of his property at 50 Jackson Ave. Among the various charities Biondo supports is Big Brothers and Big Sisters, St. Mary’s, St. Paul the Apostle Church and the March of Dimes. For Biondo, the award is a nod to the hard work his parents put in trying to achieve the American Dream.

“When my father started out in the town of Woodbury, Syosset and South Syosset, he came to this country with one cent and he became a realtor through the whole area. To the South Syosset-Woodbury Republican Club, this award means a lot to my mom and dad, who got their start with Plaza Realty, which has been in operation for over 40 years,” he said. “My parents always believed in bringing this community together. Every year, we have the Holiday Lighting Spectacular and this year it’s going to be 20 years. I’m hoping everyone comes to it.”

From left: Joe and June Iavarone
(Photo by Dave Gil de Rubio)

Even though Iavarone grew up in Queens and later moved to Garden City while attending Hofstra University, he and his family have called Syosset home for the past quarter century. As part of four generations involved in the running of Iavarone Brothers, purveyors of gourmet Italian foods, his local efforts have found him co-founding the Syosset High School Boster Club and being named a recipient of the Syosset Chamber of Commerce Civic Award. Among the many charities he and his family support are UCNP, the March of Dimes, Autism Speaks, Juvenile Diabetes Research and the Foundation for Sight & Sound & Children International. Iavarone’s love of his local community was further evidenced when he announced the establishing of a new scholarship at Syosset High School.

“On behalf of the entire Iavarone family, I would like to thank the South Syosset-Woodbury Republican Club for bestowing this great honor upon me. We’ve grown to become a fixture in the community over the years, in good times as well as bad. And as a small way of saying thank you, I’d like to announce tonight that the Iavarone family will be setting up an annual scholarship at the Syosset High School, in memory of our late father John, co-founder of Iavarone Brothers,” Iavarone said. “This scholarship will be open to all graduating seniors entering into the culinary and/or hospitality fields. We’re very proud of that and want to support the community and continue to do so. In closing, I’d like to leave you with a short quote from Teddy Roosevelt. ‘Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing, unless it means effort, pain and difficulty.’”

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