Every year, Long Islander News honors a person who has made a significant contribution to the Town of Huntington. We look for a dynamic force who has made history, gone above and beyond a call of duty, and made Huntington a better place.
For 2014, that person is Legislator William Spencer.
Now in his third year as a lawmaker, Spencer has waged major battles to pass legislation important to him – and he usually wins the fight. Whether tackling energy drinks, barring dangerous fracking byproducts from being used in the county, securing millions in aid for Northport Village to complete mandated sewage treatment plant upgrades and winning his biggest political and legislative battle to raise the tobacco-buying age in Suffolk from 19 to 21, Doc Spencer always aims high, and he almost always hits his target.
He’s done that all his life. As a high school student, he excelled in West Virginia schools to earn a full scholarship to college, where he continued to fly high in more ways than one in fulfilling his calling to become an MD. In many ways, he’s following the path his father blazed before him.
What’s next for Doc? The sky’s the limit. But right now, he is our Person of the Year.
A second, equally accomplished community leader is featured in this edition – Vita Scaturro, the first recipient of the Larry Kushnick Memorial Award for Community Leadership.
An immigrant who was born in Uruguay and came to this country at age 15 from Italy, she followed in her family’s footsteps, working hard to achieve her dreams. After learning English and getting her foundation in Catholic school, Vita took a job with Manufacturers Hanover bank while she was studying at Baruch College. What seemed like a summer job at the time turned out to be her foot into the door of the banking world, in which she has excelled for more than three decades.
The Larry Kushnick Memorial Award for Community Leadership is dedicated to the memory of Larry Kushnick, managing partner at Kushnick Pallaci, PLLC, for his tireless efforts to give back to the Town of Huntington and in particular, its nonprofits. The recipient each year will exemplify Larry’s generous spirit and love for the community. Kushnick died suddenly on June 3, 2013, at the age of 51.
And Vita certainly personifies that, using her success as a platform for helping others. Ask around town about Vita, and you’ll know community service is in her soul. Whether it’s the Huntington Chamber, Leadership Huntington, the Moonjumpers, the Townwide Fund or any number of other foundations, Vita talks the talk and walks the walk. She is a deserving recipient of the Kushnick award.
Learn more about our Persons of the Year for 2014 by picking up your copy of our 1/8 issue today and reading our extended section on these two amazing individuals!