After winning two "Chopped" champion titles, Long Island native Marc Anthony Bynum opened up his own restaurant right in his hometown, called Hush Bistro. Although the Farmingdale spot recently shuttered, he's since relocated to Huntington and is serving up American soul food with flair. The chef's specialties include molten mac and cheese and sticky ribs.
FDNY firefighter Raymond J. Pfeifer, who died cancer linked to his work at Ground Zero, had a Hicksville street dedicated in his honor on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. His widow, Caryn Pfeifer, son Terence, also in white, and daughter Taylor attended the street dedication ceremony near his former home.
Best friends LaKesha Jackson-Gordon, left, and Ganesa Taylor, of Amityville, founded the non-profit Pink S.H.O.E.S., Inc. to financially assist young women diagnosed with breast cancer. In June, the pair's non-profit sponsored a scholarship to help children of cancer victims purchase new prom dresses and shoes.
Julia O'Rourke graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead in 2017 while simultaneously celebrating her fourth World Irish Dancing Championship title. She's also won six national titles, and appeared in the 2011 documentary "Jig." O'Rourke retired from competitive dancing and now attends University of Delaware.
Quetcy-Jacobs Williams, 19, from Bohemia, won the 2017 LGBT Network talent show and received the opportunity to perform at the organization's annual prom. She crooned Adele's rendition of her parents' wedding song: "To Make You Feel My Love." That evening, she was also elected to the "Rainbow Court" and recognized for her ability to look on the bright side.
Mitsue Salador, 93, currently lives in West Islip. During World War II, she and her family were some of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps across the United States. She would eventually go on to study at nursing school and fulfill her dream of becoming a schoolteacher. Salador worked in the Brentwood and West Islip districts before retiring after two decades of teaching elementary-level reading.
After learning about what his family endured during World War II, Bob Machida, now 72, was determined to make a difference. His aunt and uncle, Margaret and Robert Tsuda, were both sent to the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah -- a Japanese-American internment camp established during World War II. When the federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians was held, Machida petitioned Albany. The commission's purpose was to examine the effects of the internment camps. "I asked them to pass a resolution backing the federal findings on the internment of Japanese-Americans, asking for reparations and, primarily, an apology," Machida told Newsday. In 1984, the resolutions were passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate. Machida now resides in Glen Cove.
Denzel Honore of Hempstead's Boy Scout Troop 300 stands with parents Diann Anthony and Fritznel Honore at the schoolhouse he took up as a cause for his Eagle Scout project. After hearing Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby's story about a decrepit Hempstead Village schoolhouse in need of repair, Honore, 17, decided to pursue the project and was able to confirm the school's history so it could be designated an official historical landmark.
Principal Tami McElwee of Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School in Oyster Bay took on a wacky challenge: kissing a bearded dragon. McElwee motivated her students to log their time spent reading every day for a month as part of the statewide program PARP, or Pick a Reading Partner. To reward her students for reaching their goal, McElwee smooched Lukey the Dragon at an assembly on April 21, 2017.
Richard Baylis, the father of Army Spc. Matthew E. Baylis, runs his hand over a sign during a ceremony marking the renaming of an Oakdale bridge bearing his son's name on July 8, 2017. Spc. Baylis, who was inspired to join the Army after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, died on May 31, 2007, after being shot when his platoon came under enemy fire on patrol in Baghdad.
Lydia Pacheco of Copiague distributes KFC to the needy on the streets of Wyandanch on Sunday, March 19, 2017. She started giving out the meals using money she received on her 11th birthday instead of spending it on herself, and turned it into a weekly act of kindness.
Third-graders from Dayton Avenue Elementary School in Manorville wear their "Kindness Begins With Me" T-shirts on Friday, April 21, 2017. The students' kindness campaign has attracted attention locally and internationally. School officials said Dayton Avenue started receiving letters about the campaign from as far away as Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Many included photos of people holding signs encouraging kindness.
Sisters Emmy and Rae Specht, of Bellport, helped raise $280,000 to build a school and provide clean water for thousands of rural villagers in Cambodia. The sisters, who received help from two of their friends, were inspired to help the less fortunate after taking a family trip to Cambodia in 2010.
Christina Gasiewski with her son, Mason, 3, prepared a donated bike for transport as part of a program to refurbish and ship the bikes to communities in developing countries. The pair were part of a group of more than a dozen volunteers who collected old bikes and sewing machines to be sent to poor communities in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. The donation event on Saturday, April 1, 2017 took place at the Ethical Humanist Society in Garden City.
George W. Hewlett School senior Alec Fischthal was one of 150 students nationwide chosen to receive a $20,000 college scholarship in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Fischthal and three other Long Island students were named 2017 Coca-Cola Scholars in March, based on academic excellence, leadership and community service.
St. Anthony's High School students raised $5,000 to bring 6-year-old Erblin Sllamniku to the U.S. to receive lifesaving heart surgery at St. Francis Hospital in March 2017. The photo shows students meeting with Erlbin on March 22, 2017.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino greeted Pathfinder honoree Marie Catanese, center, with Town Clerk Nasrin G. Ahmad, left, Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby, center right, and Councilman Anthony P. D'Esposito on March 7, 2017. Catanese was one of 11 women who were presented with the town's annual Pathfinder awards in February for outstanding achievements in the community.
The Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band, seen marching in a 2014 Huntington parade, was among 40 bands that marched in the Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2017.
Kathleen Tumminello, 13, and her twin sister, Erin, from Girl Scout Troop 2407 in Massapequa helped plant grass in a dune with fellow scouts at Tobay Beach on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Hundreds of volunteers came to fortify the dunes that help keep sand on Long Island's beaches and protect shoreline properties from flooding.
Probationary NYPD Officer Willie Thompson, 25, says his mentors, Nassau Police Officers Daniel Johannessen, left, and Robert Graves, right, were "father figures" who guided him into law enforcement through the NCPD's Exploring program. Thompson said he was often tempted to join gangs by his friends while in high school before joining a military drill team. Above, the three in Bellmore on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016.
Firefighters from across Nassau County gathered to present a new passenger van to a disabled veterans organization at the Firefighters Museum in Garden City on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The nonprofit, called Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior, consists of firefighters from 35 Nassau departments.
Holocaust survivor Magda Rosenberg receives a Hanukkah care package from nonprofit The Blue Card volunteers Larissa Finik and Izabella Safiyeva on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Long Beach. Rosenberg, 88, is the only member of her family who survived the Holocaust, and lost an arm during her imprisonment at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. After coming to the United States in 1951 with a fifth-grade education, she eventually earned a master's degree in exercise and physiology.
Melissa Doktofsky, founder of Toys for Hope, with two volunteers, siblings Nirvana, left, and Kameha Cole, at the nonprofit's warehouse in Huntington Station as they prepare for the holidays. Doktofsky, who started Toys for Hope 22 years ago, said she and the other volunteers often pull into parking lots where they know people are in need and give them coats, shoes and other items. The organization is a year-round charity that also provides hygiene products, household goods and clothing in addition to toys.
Manhasset resident Stefanie Bishop wins the women's category of "World's Toughest Mudder" on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Bishop, 33, was one of 1,500 athletes from around the world who competed in the 24-hour long race set on a five-mile looped course that included unpredictable weather conditions and desert terrain. A CBS special chronicling her victory aired on Christmas Day 2016.
Joe Smith Jr. reacts after punching retiring Bernard Hopkins out of the ring for an eighth-round TKO to win the WBC International Light Heavyweight title at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Smith, 27, of Shirley, beat the two-time former champion with a six-punch combination that sent Hopkins through the ropes and onto the floor -- and brought the 51-year-old's 28-year boxing career to an unceremonious end.
Mary Feeney, center, stands with the Nassau County police officers and medic who got her heart going again after a heart attack. They are, from left Nassau officers Sean Keeffe, Nicole Mauro, medic Joseph Miner, and Michael LaSala. The group was honored Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, by the Nassau County executive in Mineola for reviving Feeney, 62, who had a heart attack in her home in September. LaSala performed chest compressions, then used a portable defibrillator to stimulate Feeney's heart, reviving her.
Sophia Stehlik, a fifth-grader at Paul J. Bellew Elementary School in West Islip, with, from left, principal Rhonda Pratt, music teachers Laura Hill-Primiano and Victoria Kavitt, and director of art and music education Eric Albinder. Stehlik, 10, had one of her compositions, titled "Avalanche," performed live by six high school students at the 18th annual Young Composers Honors Concert, held in early in December during the New York State School Music Association's 2016 Winter Conference in Rochester. This was the second consecutive year that Stehlik had one of her original compositions performed at the statewide conference.
Daniel DeMeo, a Ridge volunteer firefighter, was honored in December 2016 by the Town of Brookhaven for saving a woman's life while on vacation with his family in Mexico three months earlier. DeMeo, 37, was in a restaurant in Cancun when he saw a woman lying on the floor after having struck her head. "I could see that she wasn't breathing," he said. DeMeo administered CPR and chest compressions until other responders arrived. His actions earned him plaudits from the Town Board, which honored him during a meeting following his return.
Melina Mazzie, 17, of Bay Shore, collected more than 13,000 letters to Santa Claus for Macy's "Believe" campaign, which donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every letter. Mazzie, who was diagnosed with a blood disease that required her to get a bone-marrow transplant, was honored on Dec. 9, 2016, by Macy's and Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County at the South Shore Mall in Bay Shore.
Chris Arsenault, with one of the 300 cats he cares for at his Happy Cat Sanctuary in Medford on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Arsenault, 56, started a nonprofit sanctuary for cats at his Medford home shortly after his son Eric died in a motorcycle accident in 2006.
Carrie Hsu, a freshman at Herricks High School, won second place in an international essay competition in December 2016 in which students were asked to describe their ideal education. Hsu was one of two second-place winners among more than 12,000 entries in the children's category of the Goi Peace Foundation's 2016 International Essay Contest for Young People.
Alec Fischthal, right, of North Woodmere finished second in "Jeopardy! Teen Tournament" in November 2016.
Ethan Shapiro, 12, a student at Henry L. Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station, attracted 85 people to his bowling fundraiser in November 2016. Shapiro used the event to raise more than $1,500 for Life's WORC Family Center for Autism in Garden City.
In December 2014, volunteer firefighter Joseph Sanford, 43, responded to a raging house fire in Woodmere and was critically injured when he fell through a hole on the first floor, landing in the basement. He died on Dec. 23. Sanford worked for the Nassau County Public Works Department and was an Inwood Fire Department volunteer for 17 years, including a stint as an assistant chief. A commemorative sign was placed at the corner of Davis Avenue and Elm Road in Inwood to honor Sanford's service on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. "He epitomized the word 'hero,'" said Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino.
Anthony Caputo, 8, his sister Danielle Caputo, 15, and dozens of other volunteers help make about 1,250 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Thursday night, Nov. 10, 2016, in a gym at the Suffolk County Police Academy in Brentwood. The volunteers made the sandwiches to donate to the Lighthouse Mission, a Bellport-based nonprofit that provides food, Bible readings and clothing to Long Islanders in need.
Kathleen Cinelli, 27, of Bayport, cares for a child on the hospital ship Africa Mercy, which is docked in Benin, West Africa, in October 2016. Cinelli is volunteering as a nurse through the organization Mercy Ships, a fleet of hospital ships that brings medical care to people in developing nations. She's currently working as a nurse on the maxillofacial ward of the Africa Mercy, the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world, a spokeswoman for the organization said.
Timothy Navin, 10, initiated the Seaford Harbor Elementary School's 'Socktober' sock drive, which helped collect about 500 pairs of socks for the homeless during the last week of October, 2016. All of the donated socks were given to Project ReDirect, a Babylon-based nonprofit that provides emergency housing for the homeless.
Eagle Scout Andrew Martin, a senior at Walt Whitman High School, was responsible for installing three benches made of decking and cedar at the entrance to the Birchwood Intermediate School on Oct. 17, 2016. Martin, 17, collected $1,700 for the project and helped install the benches as part of his Eagle Scout community service efforts.
Jim Bliss is shown in his South Setauket assisted-living home on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, with some of the many birthday cards he received just before his 95th birthday. Bliss, who is a World War II veteran and former Long Island University professor, confessed to his daughter that he felt "he had nothing left to offer" in this late stage of his life. He later received more than 60 messages and gifts, some from people he had never met after his daughter, Ann Bliss, put out a call on Facebook for friends and relatives to send her father birthday wishes.
Katelyn Maher, a senior at Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, created a T-shirt design featuring a fennec fox that is being sold at the Bronx and Central Park zoos. Maher was inspired to approach the zoos after receiving encouraging remarks on a similar project from her computer art teacher.
Immanuel Mellis, a student at Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore, with Mepham music teacher Eric Vivelo. Mellis, 17, was one of 14 students statewide to have their original compositions chosen for performance at the New York State School Music Association's 2016 winter conference from Dec. 1-4, 2016 in Rochester.
Kenia Borjas Arias holds her newborn daughter, Ailish, as husband Ronnie Padilla, daughter Jairy Jael, 6, and, from left, Nassau County police Officers Darnell White, Nicholas Dux and Police Medic Brian Matthews surround her at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. Matthews helped deliver the baby in a speeding ambulance after Arias, 33, went into labor at her Uniondale home. He saved the baby's life, hospital officials said, by removing the umbilical cord that was wrapped around her neck. White drove the ambulance and Dux accompanied the ambulance in his police car.
Nassau County police Officer Nicolas Felitti, right, was named a "Top Cop" during a meeting of the Nassau Legislature in Mineola on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. The 25-year veteran received a citation for a good deed done on Good Easter when, while performing a welfare check at a home in Locust Valley, he spent $40 of his own money to buy groceries for a man who was without food or money and was asking for help. The officer didn't tell anyone, but the man called the Second Precinct and wrote a letter praising Felitti, officials said. Felitti said he knew the man from the neighborhood and "wanted him to have a nice Easter."
Sal Valentinetti, of Bethpage, finished fifth on "America's Got Talent" Season 11 in 2016.
Track standout Tysheem Griffin, a recent graduate of Amityville High School, poses for a portrait at his home in Amityville Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Griffin represented Team USA in the Olympic Games for disabled athletes in Rio de Janeiro in September. Griffin, 17, who was born with Waardenburg syndrome, a rare group of genetic conditions that took most of his hearing by the time he was a toddler, ran the 400-meter dash. He qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team with a 50.15-second run at national trials in North Carolina on July 1, 2016.
Carter Beckhard-Suozzi, 10, of Glen Cove, hugs former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta on July 11, 2016. Carter, who underwent five months of chemotherapy last year, asked to meet the former president through the Make-A-Wish Foundation because he was a fellow cancer survivor with a similar name. The two discussed the former president's humanitarian efforts and their shared experiences in beating cancer.
Olivia Phillips, 9, of Shirley, became the cover girl of the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County's Fall 2016 magazine after selling more than 3,000 boxes of cookies. Olivia said she sold the boxes, which retail for $4 each, by stationing herself inside Freshy Fresh Bagels in Shirley for a few hours over the course of several weekends.
Billy Richards, 34, a personal trainer from Islip and former Army sergeant, visited a number of cities where police have recently died or been wounded in the line of duty to honor officers and thank them for their service. Beginning on July 29, 2016, Richards visited cities including Baltimore, Dallas and Baton Rouge, where he completes a 3- to 5- mile run at each police station before presenting a flag and a card. "I can relate a little bit to what they do," Richards said. "As a veteran, I've been a defender overseas. The police are a defender on the homefront."
Skylar Katz, 11, of Melville, got a standing ovation on "America's Got Talent" during her performance on the show in July 2016.
At right, Sal Agosta, 39, of East Marion, his 8-year-old son John and his brother-in-law Kevin Quarty, 36, of Southold, came to the rescue of a Westbury father and his two children whose boat, named Not Enough Time, sank in the chilly waters off Greenport on June 1, 2016.
Former Northport Fire Department Chief John McKenna, a 30-year member of the department, receives the 2016 Fire Service Community Achievement Award during a ceremony at the Northport Fire Department on Monday, June 20, 2016. The award, a statewide honor, is in recognition of activities in community service organizations outside of the recipient's membership in the fire service. Officials said McKenna's acts of service include his involvement in the St. Baldrick's Foundation since 2002; he has assisted in raising more than $5.1 million in donations in Northport alone. "Simply put, John McKenna is a role model for all of us in the volunteer fire service," FASNY president Robert McConville said in a statement.
Hadi Aziz, a senior at Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, with Christine Boyce, the school's director for advanced science research. Aziz, 17, is the first high schooler admitted to work in the Kaelin Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a prestigious research center in Boston.
Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner and her longtime friend Tom D'Antonio at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville, on June 8, 2016. Bonner recently donated a kidney, his third transplant, to her longtime friend after his failed.
Genine Plummer is believed to be the first black postmaster of the Brookhaven hamlet post office. Plummer, 55, has been postmaster at the government office along Montauk Highway for almost eight years as of May 2016. Plummer, who oversees three carriers and three window clerks responsible for helping 1,200 customers annually, said mail plays an important role in society, especially in periods of war when American soldiers don't have access to electronics. "It keeps people going," Plummer said.
With seven lines of impeccable cursive, Cecilia Saad, 9, a student at The Green Vale School in Glen Head, was named top third-grader out of more than 37,350 competitors in the Zaner-Bloser national handwriting competition in May 2016. More than 270,000 students from kindergarten through eighth grade entered the annual competition sponsored by the Ohio-based company. Cecilia decided to donate a portion of her $1,000 award to the Tanzanian Children's fund, a nonprofit run by Green Vale alumna India Howell.
Naeha Pathak, 17, a senior at Herricks High School, contributed to a published report on ovarian cancer treatment in the May 2016 edition of the European Scientific Journal. Her research focuses on chemoresistance.
Eva Casale, front, runs along Ridge Road in Ridge on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Casale ran seven marathons in seven days to raise funds and awareness for Hope for the Warriors, a charity that benefits veterans and their families. Casale's 184-mile journey wound through the hometowns of several Suffolk County veterans who were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tip jars are a common fixture at local shops, but Jessy Nahmias, owner of Jessy's Pastries in Oceanside, doesn't keep them to herself. Nahmias has been donating her tips to nonprofits such as Gigi's Playhouse, which has programs for children with Down syndrome. On her tip jar is a picture of her son, Brandon, who was born with Down syndrome in 2005 and died at 2 years old from a virus. She opened her empanadas and baked goods store in April 2016.
Dagger II, aka DogVinci, 3-year-old black Labrador-golden retriever mix, became a paintbrush-wielding media sensation since March 18, 2016, when Newsday first told the story of the Massapequa canine. Dagger had been headed for a career assisting the disabled, but his life took a pivot and he's now applying the follow-command skills he learned in his training as a professional artist. He's been profiled by the likes of WPIX11, ABC7NY, CBS NewYork, as well as Mashable.com, time.com, today.com, insideedition.com, nydailynews.com and telegraph.co.uk.
NYPD Sgt. Hameed Armani, left, with partner, Officer Peter Cybulski, of Flanders, during a Hauppauge ceremony to honor the officers for their quick actions on July 21, 2014 in removing a suspected bomb from Times Square. Cybulski was awarded Suffolk County's Distinguished Medal of Service and Armani was given a Suffolk County certificate of appreciation for driving a suspected bomb outside of Times Square to protect nearby crowds as someone driving by in a gold-colored SUV threw a package into Cybulski's lap.
Desiree Metz, of Sayville, holds daughter Lainey as she thanks Suffolk County Officers Joseph Cascone, center, and Chris D'Amico, on Sept. 9, 2014 at Islip Town Hall. The officers helped save Lainey from drowning the previous July. Cascone and D'Amico were the first of a dozen responders to arrive on the scene where then 18-month-old Lainey Metz had fallen in her babysitter's backyard pool and was unconscious. After being revived with CPR, Metz was taken to Stony Brook University hospital, where she made a full recovery.
Andrew Wykowski, 17, of Garden City, relearns how to walk as he undergoes physical therapy at the Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan in June 2015. "The outcome is pretty miraculous," his father, Paul Wykowski, said of his son's recovery. The teen was vacationing with his parents on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in August 2014 when he dove into an ocean wave and landed badly. He fractured two vertebrae in his neck, which left him paralyzed.
In November 2014, Maria LaPlaca Bohrer, 59, of West Babylon, was named a recipient of the Learning Magazine 2015 Teacher's Choice Award for her children's book, "Sofia's Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn." The book, published by Bay Shore-based Blue Marlin Publications, hit shelves in February 2015.
Martin Bobek III, right, holds his long-lost Vietnam War dog tag returned by Anthony Cenzoprano, of Garden City, at his home in Forked River, N.J., on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Cenzoprano found the dog tag in a pile of debris while doing construction on his summer home in Otego, N.Y., and spend nearly a year trying to locate Bobek so he could return the tag to its owner.
Ward Melville High School senior Elaina Frantellizzi, left, receives the Queens University of Charlotte's Presidential Scholarship from Chelsea Boham, assistant director of admissions at Ward Melville, on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Frantellizzi was one of seven to receive the scholarship, worth about $120,000, out of 330 applicants from across the country. She used the scholarship to study nursing at the North Carolina college.
Luigi Militello shows off the 2013 Red Sox World Series ring he found at his restaurant, Luke's Bar and Grill in Manhattan. He returned the ring belonging to Drew Weber, who owns one of Boston's minor league teams, on Friday, July 25, 2014. Although he refused a monetary reward for returning the ring, Militello decided to use Weber's reward to help the Ocean Beach Community Fund, which supports beautification efforts in the Fire Island village following the destruction caused by superstorm Sandy.
Surveillance footage from the Lukoil gas station in North Babylon shows a man, identified by one of the station's managers as David Cincotta, 43, of North Babylon, stopping a runaway car with three young girls inside on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Cincotta raced outside when he heard children screaming and saw a car rolling backward toward Commack Road. He was able to get inside the moving vehicle and put it in park before the car rolled into oncoming traffic.
In the summer of 2015, Huntington Station native Chris Strub completed his mission of volunteering with youth organizations in all 50 states in 100 days -- including one in his hometown. From May 15 to Aug. 21, Strub promoted the organizations he visited via SnapChat and live social media feeds. At Project PLAY & St. John's Camp in Huntington Station, a summer day camp for low-income children, the children taught Strub how to dance to their theme song on Aug. 11, 2015.
New York City Police Officers David Roussine, left, and Michael Konatsotis, center, were honored by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, March 3, 2014, during a news conference at City Hall. Roussine, 25, a graduate of Glen Cove High School, and Konatsotis, 45, a former Hicksville resident, saved an unconscious 15-month-old girl's life on Saturday, March 1, 2014 on the Upper East Side. De Blasio called the officers the "epitome of what public servants are meant to be."
Carlos Mendes, 35, of East Meadow, was the first player signed to the newly revamped New York Cosmos soccer team in 2013, and has spent the past 14 years playing soccer professionally for teams including the Long Island Rough Riders and the New York Red Bulls. He attended The Wheatley School in Old Westbury and was the recipient of the 1997 Jim Steen Award as Nassau's best player.
In just under three months, AJ Borowski of Bellmore biked nearly 4,000 miles from Virginia to California, and not just for the fun of it. Borowski journeyed across the country to raise over $12,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of his mother, Maria, who died of leukemia in July 2014. The Bellmore cyclist departed at the head of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail on Aug. 30, 2015, and reached the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica on Nov. 17, 2015.
In 2013, Romola Ratnam of Mill Neck became co-executive director of the SEED project, a Senegal nonprofit that promotes educational programs with basketball. Alumni of the SEED Academy, the project's basketball student-athlete academy, have gone on to work in other countries and play basketball at U.S. colleges and the NBA. The project partnered with the NBA and USAID to launch another youth development program in 2014, expanding the project's services to more than 8,000 Senegalese youth.
Elizabeth "Nan" Smith celebrated her 100th birthday three days early on April 23, 2014, by taking two celebratory SilverSneakers senior cardio classes at New York Sports Club in Garden City. Following the classes, she received a surprise visit from a "prince," played by trainer Chris Ferraro, who gave her a kiss on the cheek. Smith started the SilverSneakers fitness program when she joined the gym at the age of 89.
Matthew Monahan, a Commack volunteer firefighter, was off duty late one night in March of 2014 when he stopped at a single-car accident in Hauppauge and pulled Alyssa Fox from her vehicle, seconds before it was engulfed in flames. Fox's parents, Scott and Laura, wrote Monahan a letter calling him their hero for putting his life in danger to rescue their daughter. A few days after the accident, Monahan visited Fox in her room at Stony Brook University Hospital, where he works as a nursing assistant.
John D. Kemp, president and chief executive of the Viscardi Center for the disabled in Albertson, joined the ranks of Nelson Mandela and George H. W. Bush when he received the 2014 Dole Leadership Prize. The national honor, named for former Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, is awarded annually to an individual or group whose public service is an inspiration to others. The Viscardi Center is a network of nonprofits that coordinate educational services and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Kemp, born without full arms or legs, has been its president since 2011 and has been active in the disability movement for more than 50 years.
India Howell, originally from Mill Neck, runs the Rift Valley Children's Village in Tanzania, where she and her business partner are legal guardians of more than 95 Tanzanian children. In a "60 Minutes" segment featuring her work, Howell said she first went to Tanzania in 1998 to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and decided to quit her job as a CEO in Boston to stay there. The Children's Village, which she has run since 2004, has more than 100 employees and 22 buildings on nine acres of land on a remote mountainside outside the town of Karatu.
West Babylon Junior High School student Kyra Duke took all her research on West Babylon alumni killed while serving in the military and created large framed displays for the soldiers. Each one has a photo, their birth and death dates and where they were killed, their hometown and the year they graduated high school, along with etchings for those killed in the Vietnam War. She donated the project to American Legion Sgt. John Sardiello Post 1634 in West Babylon.
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz went from being a local kid from East Setauket to a World Series game starter in just a few short months. Matz, 24, made his major league debut with the Amazins on June 28, 2015, winning the game and even recording 4 RBIs. He won his next start as well, prompting a Long Island deli to name a sandwich after him. Despite the Mets losing the World Series, Matz's emergence as a dominant pitcher was considered one of the many bright spots of the team's season.
All Brian Moore ever wanted was to be a New York City police officer, just like his father. The 25-year-old Massapequa resident made his dream come true, and became a decorated officer in the process. Unfortunately, while on duty in Queens on May 2, 2015, Moore was shot in the head by an assailant and succumbed to his injuries just two days later. For his service and ultimate sacrifice, he was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.
Manhasset High School seniors Kimberly Te, left, and Christine Yoo, both 17, won $100,000 in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2015. The Long Islanders, who have known each other since first grade, created an energy-producing device that can use naturally occurring bacteria, such as those found in mud and wastewater, to clean up oil spills.
Commack resident Anita Krausch, 91, became the oldest member of the Sachem High School North graduating Class of 2015. Krausch, who dropped out of Pelham Memorial High School in Westchester County after her junior year to support her family at the start of World War II, was invited on stage with her grandson, Kyle Kilkenny, and awarded an honorary degree during the June 27 ceremony.
Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Marlana Watson, 28, received New York State's highest military honor on Aug. 18, 2015. The Lindenhurst resident received the Medal of Valor for running to help two teens who were shot in Syracuse near her home. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo presented her with the award at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Farmingdale. Watson hugged her son, Lassan Green, 6, after receiving the award.
Gabriel Cordell completed a 122-mile quest that began at Montauk Point and ended at the North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington on Oct. 9, 2015. CBS 2 reported that Cordell completed the weeklong journey in his wheelchair to raise awareness for two great causes: roads for the disabled and homeless animals. All of the money Cordell raised will go toward creating a feline facility at North Shore, according to CBS 2. This is not Cordel's first amazing conquest: The paraplegic also became the first person to travel the U.S. in a manual wheelchair.
Bay Shore's Aaron Sisa, 6, rides his board on April 19, 2014. His wish was fulfilled with the help of some Long Island surfers who wanted Aaron to be able to ride before undergoing chemotherapy for a malignant brain tumor.
Carle Place native Jonathan Ehlers, 33, left, and one of his co-directors, Patrick Ward-Perkins of Los Angeles, take a break while filming their first feature-length independent film, "Ink & Steel," in upstate Utica. The movie -- about an aging mob enforcer sent to a rural college town to protect the artistic, drug-addict son of his boss after a violent turf war -- won the Audience Choice Award at its premiere at the SoHo International Film Festival on May 22, 2014.
Valedictorian Berthe Gersten, 93, of Commack, congratulates fellow adult education graduates at the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack on June 19, 2014. It was Gersten's second valedictory honor, the first was 79 years earlier.
Mikey Ortiz, 9, wraps his arms around his father, Miguel Ortiz, at Busto's Martial Arts in Holbrook on July 3, 2014. The Farmingville boy thought he was just there for a private lesson, but he ended up having a surprise reunion with his father, a Marine Corps major who had been serving in Afghanistan and Bahrain.
Veterinarian Martin Zipkin, left, sits next to Adam Kopelman of Hewlett Harbor, who helped rescue this 2-year-old pit bull terrier from the road after it had been hit in Lawrence in May 2014. Kopelman paid $800 to help cover the costs, with Zipkin's veterinary office picking up the rest of the tab.
Valley Stream's Joe Taglic competed in the 2014 "Jeopardy!" Teen Tournament, hosted by Alex Trebek. He was 17 at the time the shows aired in July 2014. He qualified for the semifinal round and won $10,000.
Army Lt. Col. Richard Davis reunites with his daughter, Stephanie, during Syosset High School's graduation ceremony at Hofstra University on June 25, 2014. His surprise return to hand his Stephanie her diploma produced an emotional father and daughter moment.
Audrey Zhang, 11, a fifth-grader at Michael F. Stokes Elementary School in Levittown, took over the Google homepage for one day on June 6, 2014. The talented young artist won the national Doodle 4 Google competition and an animated version of her artwork was featured on the site. Google also presented her with a $30,000 college scholarship and her school received a $50,000 technology grant. Audrey's illustration also inspired the company to give back. The theme for this year's contest was "If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place," and Audrey's doodle depicted a fictional machine that improved water quality. In her name, Google pledged to donate $20,000 to a charity that provides clean water and latrines to schools in Bangladesh.
Holbrook's Matt Barbis launched the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation in memory of his cousin, who was abducted and killed in 2004 in Sarasota, Fla.
West Islip's Brook DiPalma reached out on YouTube about the "P.S. I Love You" campaign, which she started following her father's suicide in 2010. Each year, West Islip High School celebrates P.S. I Love You Day. The entire school is asked to wear purple in a show of togetherness and acceptance to counter bullying, rally around those suffering from depression and "ultimately, end suicide," DiPalma told Newsday in 2012.
Elmont Memorial High School's Model UN team traveled to China in 2013 to take on students from 22 different countries at the WE Model United Nations Conference. They returned home 10 days later victorious, winning the best small delegate title.
Crohn's disease kept Keri Dolan from acting. But she found a new creative outlet -- drawing. In 2014, the Commack native auctioned off some of her signed celebrity portraits to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.
Students at South Side High School in Rockville Centre were able to summon a free tutor thanks to an online service launched by four of their schoolmates in 2013. The group created SSHSTutoring.com, a portal to make peer-to-peer tutoring anonymous and more flexible.
When Jillian Given found her mother, Elizabeth Given, passed out inside their home on Sept. 16, 2013, authorities say the 5-year-old Ronkonkoma girl remained "calm and collected." Jillian dialed 911 and informed first responders of her mother's state and that she is diabetic.
Actor Billy Crystal and Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman teamed up to give back to the Long Beach community after superstorm Sandy. Crystal, a Long Beach native, and Lieberman, who grew up in nearby Far Rockaway, funded the restoration of two public basketball courts near the Long Beach Recreation Center in November 2013.
As a young boy, Naji Nizam fell in love with football, but after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age 7, he was told it would be impossible for him to play the sport. Despite the disease, he fulfilled a dream by appearing in two varsity games for Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson in 2013.
At least 12 people escaped a raging house fire in North Bay Shore on Nov. 15, 2013 thanks to the efforts of neighbors, a passing motorist and a Suffolk County police officer. Only one person was seriously injured in the fire, which destroyed a three-family home on Wisconsin Avenue.
When a Jeep crashed into the school bus that Mary Burke was driving on Sept. 18, 2013, and caught fire, she and her aides managed to get their passengers -- two 5-year-old boys in wheelchairs -- to safety.
Physicians from Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan spent almost 8 hours on Sept. 11, 2013, removing an 8-pound tumor from the neck of Aster Degaro, 13, of Ethiopia, and reconstructing the area.
Edmund Mayer, a Melville resident who rescued his mother and sister from the Nazis, died on Oct. 24, 2013, at the age of 82. While living in Hungary with his family in 1944, Mayer, his mother and sister were taken to a concentration camp in Austria. When the war ended, the family faced a camp quarantine, but Mayer stole a horse and buggy to get his mother and sister out.
Long Island native Katie DiCamillo crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 2013. The 26-year-old, a 2005 graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, was the second-highest finishing American woman in the marathon with a time of 2:40:03.
Breast cancer survivor Christine McCann, 42, of West Islip, became a host mother in July 2013 for an inner-city child from Brooklyn, after applying to the Fresh Air Fund. On July 19, the McCann family welcomed Ayahna Seyid, 7, into their home for a week of summer activities.
As children approached Sgt. First Class Joseph Coscia, 30, of Centereach, while his Army unit provided security in Qalat, Afghanistan in 2013, he began singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," and the kids repeated the lyrics. A fellow soldier captured the moment on video and it was shared on Facebook.
Brentwood native Craig Longobardi, 35, completed the world's highest-altitude marathon, the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon in the Himalayas, on May 29, 2013. The Ironman triathlete and avid mountain biker finished in just under 15 hours, putting him first among Americans.
Richard Edwin-Ehmer Specht, also called Rees, dressed as Superman in his Sound Beach home the night before he drowned in a pond in his backyard on Oct. 27, 2012, at 22 months old. His family created a Facebook page, "ReesSpechtLife," and a foundation committed to asking the community to do random acts of kindness in their son's name.
Nicholas Cameron, a seventh grader at Sayville Middle School, submitted an educational video game he created to the third annual STEM Video Game Challenge in May 2013 and was named one of 16 winners from across the country. He spent four months creating the game, Math Rocks.
Jessica Stean, 29, of Westbury, won $25,262 in cash and prizes, including trips to Hawaii and London, during a March 19, 2013 taping of "Wheel of Fortune" during "Fabulous Food Week" in Manhattan. "Wheel of Fortune" taped a month's worth of programs in Manhattan in March, and Stean was among the 19 Long Islanders who appeared.
Steven Gieseler Jr., 12, of East Islip, caught Alex Rodriguez's record grand slam ball in September 2013. It was the Yankees third baseman's 24th grand slam, surpassing Gehrig's Major League Baseball record. In exchange for returning the ball to Rodriguez, the father and son met the player.
Long Beach lifeguards Tim Cabasino, 22, James Canner, 18, Phil Cabasino, 25, and PJ Gillespie, 24, brought home gold at the 2013 United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard Championships on Aug. 10. The team placed in the top five for the landline race the previous three years before finally winning.
Rich Daly, 33, of Mastic Beach, shattered a Guinness World Record for "Fastest Time to Carve 60 Ice Sculptures" in 2013. Daly, a culinary arts teacher at William Floyd High School, set the record with a time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 12 seconds.
Baldwin's Chris Weidman won the UFC middleweight title in 2013 when he knocked out Anderson Silva, who is widely recognized as the greatest mixed martial artist in the 20-plus year history of the sport.
Calling themselves "Team Long Island Victorious," or Team LIV, 13 local women were part of a group that trained for the Nike Women's Half Marathon, which was held on Oct. 20. The women raised $100,000 to fund a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society research project.
Fourteen students and four professors from the Fashion Institute of Technology helped Sandy victims with the process of redesigning their Long Beach homes.