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AHRC founders Margaret and Frank Riva honored with new Freeport clinic

Margaret Riva, 103, talks of her younger days

Margaret Riva, 103, talks of her younger days in the early 1900s where she was one of the founders of the AHRC back in 1949, seen here on May 2, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

Margaret Riva is quite pleased about a new Freeport health clinic aimed at the developmentally disabled that was named in her honor.

So is Sebina Dean. "I recently visited it, and it looked great, up to date," said Dean, whose son will use the clinic.

Dean's son, Kevin, 38, who lives with her, had been going to a site in Brookville and then in Oceanside. "This is so much better," she said.

The new site, the Frank & Margaret Riva Advantage Care Health Center at 230 Hanse Ave., is a sister AHRC Nassau agency to the older one in Brookville.

The clinic is named for the early New York pioneers who crusaded for the developmentally disabled to have access to the same services as others. Riva and her husband, who died in 2004, took up the cause after their three children were born with developmental disabilities, which Margaret Riva attributed to lead poisoning her husband encountered as a plumber.

A founder of AHRC in 1949, Riva never institutionalized her children, Lorraine, Carol and Frankie, now in their 70s and living in AHRC residences. Now 103 -- and having lived in Lynbrook since 1960 -- Riva attended the clinic's dedication ceremony Wednesday.

Reached by telephone afterward, she said, "Everybody needs a place where they can receive medical care."

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, who was among village officials at the ceremony, said: "We applaud the Rivas for their advocacy and dedication. . . . The Freeport board of trustees and I will be available to assist [the center] whenever possible and are grateful for the services that AHRC is providing in our village."

Stanfort Perry, the clinic's associate director, said it is the only clinic of its kind on Nassau's South Shore "that also serves those not disabled."

"We offer a sliding scale, depending on your ability to pay," for services including primary care, dental, psychiatry and podiatry, Perry said.