By Jano Tantongco
The Huntington Chamber of Commerce has recently established the Scott Martella Alumni Award as a memorial for dedicated public servant who was killed in a car crash last year.
The chamber will present the first award posthumously to Martella.
Moving forward, “Celebrate Long Island’s Young Professionals” honorees will be eligible for the award, and winners will be chosen based on the “same merits, qualities and passion” Martella displayed for the community in fields like public service and business, according to Robert Bontempi, vice chairman of the chamber.
In 2012, Bontempi, then chamber chairman, personally honored Martella as a young professional for his efforts in contributing to the chamber and community at-large.
“He was wise before his years. He had a degree of leadership, not just with the Chamber of Commerce, but with all the organizations. He brought the same passion in the roles that he had with the governor and the county executive to all these community groups,” Bontempi said.
Martella, who resided in Northport, died in a disastrous crash that took the lives of five others on the Long Island Expressway in August 2016. The 29-year-old and his fiancée, Shelbi Thurau, had plans to marry this month.
Martella most recently served as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s director of communications, responsible for daily communications operations.
He also worked for the state government and then Gov. Andrew Cuomo, roles through which he was introduced to State Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station).
Lupinacci called Martella a “tremendous person with an incredible knack for people and the field of politics.”
He added, “I was proud to know and work alongside Scott and will remember him as a great man, with a big heart, and a strong desire to succeed.”
Bontempi added that Martella had a vision beyond just the scope of the organizations he contributed to.
“He was just one of those very unique people that was just taken way too young that just contributed so much,” Bontempi said. “He was selfless in his efforts.”