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A Special Section of the Sullivan County Democrat • October 2019

Congrats, Jefe!


Your success is a testament to your hard work and this award could not go to a more deserving person. Keep creating!



Congratulations to the greatest, father, friend, partner, and man we all know and love! There is no one that works harder and deserves this award more than you. Your years of hard work, determination, countless hours, loyalty, innovation and perseverance has made you most deserving of this great honor. You have proven beyond a doubt that there is nothing you can’t do once you set your mind to it and you let nothing stand in your way. Thank you for all that you do not only for the greater good of our entire family, but for your contributions to our community and our county! We love you unconditionally and are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments!

Sky’s the limit


With much love, gratitude and respect, April, Mara, Jonathan, Adrian & Julian



and you can always count on us to be by your side.





Dear Readers, 2019 was an exciting year for the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Our objective to make lasting contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of Sullivan County by bringing community and business together, is leading the way. Collaborating and working with the groups that are making our neighborhoods better, our business climate better and our quality of life better, the Chamber continues to passionately lead the charge into 2020 nourishing the partnerships and the momentum that our County is blessed to be experiencing. Join me in celebration of our community, in honoring our 28th Annual Pride Award Winners at our Gala and in the cultivation of our collaborations that make Sullivan County shine! Please reserve your seat today for our October 24th reception at the Eagle's Nest. Very truly yours,

Jaime Schmeiser Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce 196 Bridgeville Rd., Suite 7 Monticello, New York 12701

RSVP to the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce. Call 845-791-4200 or visit to secure your reservation. The Eagle’s Nest is located at 58 Eagle’s Nest Road in Bloominburg, NY.






Businessperson of the Year:

Randy Resnick

By Patricio Robayo nown as a “professional multi-tasker,” Randy Resnick has been awarded the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year Award for 2019. “I feel privileged to get the award. It’s nice to be recognized by other business people,” said Resnick. A Sullivan County native, Resnick



grew up in the restaurant and supermarket equipment business. Being around restaurants his whole life gave him the dream of opening up his own restaurant one day. According to the website of one of his restaurants, Bernie’s Holiday Restaurant in Rock Hill, his upbringing “gave way to idealisms of fine dining and exquisite palatable options that you can find in any of


Randy Resnick is the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Businessperson of the Year.

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Randy Resnick continued from page 7 the restaurants that Randy has his hands in.” After graduating from Fallsburg Central High School, Resnick went to Providence, Rhode Island to study culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University. Soon after, he returned to Sullivan County to work for his family. Having the feeling of wanderlust, Resnick headed out to see what the rest of the country had to offer. He traveled through Aspen, Colorado, and Huntington Beach, California. Being out west, Resnick had a short stint in the movie business, delivering movie cameras to the studios. Resnick said it was “really cool” as he visited a different movie set each day. After being lured back to Sullivan County by his family, he went back to working with them. His first business was selling hydroponic cabinets to supermarkets so they can grow sprouts in-house and on their sales floor. Another business he started was Char-B-Que, which sold countertop electric chicken rotisserie ovens for small stores. One of Resnick’s most significant accomplishments has been Resnick Energy, which was started 20 years ago. “It gives me the closest connection to my community,” said Resnick. Entering the energy business happened just by chance, said Resnick. At the time, he owned a rental center in Ferndale called Global Trucks and Equipment Rental. He got into the business when one of his customers who owned an oil delivery truck was going out of business.


“...his upbringing gave way to idealisms of fine dining and excuisite palatable options that you can find in any of the restaurants that Randy has his hands in.”

So Resnick bought his own truck and went to work. “It turned out to be much better than I ever thought,” said Resnick. Resnick Energy provides oil, kerosene, on-and-off road diesel, unleaded and super unleaded gas. Working with Black Bear Fuel Oil, Resnick delivers propane through Rez-Bear. Growing up in Mountaindale, the family would always visit Rock Hill as it was the next biggest town to them. His grandfather owned a restaurant, bar and gas station where the current Citgo now stands. “It was kind of home for us,” said Resnick. Resnick has made Rock Hill the place to dine with Bernie’s Holiday Restaurant and Crust Italian Eatery, and Craft Brew Burgers and Beer Bar. “We grew up eating there [Bernie’s] every Friday of our lives. Bernie’s has been around since 1963 and was an amazing place. I remember being a kid and just going there and running around.” Resnick says there was never any downtime in his life. His wife April and their four children – Mara, Jonathan Adrian, and Julian – is what Resnick says allows him to pursue his passions. “An understanding family lets you go out and work,” said Resnick. “I am a seven-day a week guy, 16 hours a day.”

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It has been a long journey.


This is your time to shine!

An Honor Well Deserved! Love,

We will always be there to cheer you on!!!



Love, Dad & Patsy

Steve And Dali

Still Banking Strong!

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Pride Award Recipients:

Mr. Randy Resnick, Mr. Mark McLewin & Ms. Christine Aby-Azar, Ms. Sheila Lashinsky, Mr. Lee Karasik, and Mr. Bruce Davidson! 76086

10 P R I D E AWA R D S

(845) 482-4000 •


Randy Resnick

continued from page 9

When asked how one person can juggle so many businesses, Resnick said he has a fantastic staff that helps with day-to-day operations. “It’s a symphony, and I am the conductor,” said Resnick. “I helped move the businesses forward. I’m the idea guy, that comes up with and executes the plan, and they operate and follow up.” One of Resnick’s newest initiatives will be the “Resnick Umbrella,” which will mean savings for his customers. “An umbrella that customers can come under that will give them the best service,” said Resnick. “You’re going to get discounts at our restaurants, at our supermarkets, and at the hotel (The Sullivan).”

To Resnick, his businesses are based on relationships and also cultivating those relationships. “I give all of my customers my phone number. I’m accessible to every single one of them from every single one of my businesses,” said Resnick. “That type of service [is] backed up with amazing staff at all my locations.” His staff is what makes all the businesses possible. “It’s always been my mantra in the restaurant business, to train my guys to be great, and to love what they do, and to have passion for it,” said Resnick. “And that’s why now we have the best restaurant I’ve ever had.”

Congratulations Randy Resnick and all of the 2019 Sullivan Pride Award Recipients




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P R I D E AWA R D S 1 1

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Congratulations to all of the honorees. Your efforts are creating a vibrant community for all.


Distinguished Achievement Award:

Mark McLewin and Cristina Aby-Azar By Joseph Abraham o call married couple Mark McLewin and Cristina Aby-Azar workaholics would be putting it mildly. If they see a project they can help with their skillsets, they take on the task with little to no hesitation. Their hard work and dedication has led them to great success, and they are more than worthy recipients of this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award. They were introduced by their good friend and now also coworker Jaime Stankevicus when he owned an antique shop in Jeffersonville. While visiting the store, McLewin had with him his pet bird named “Push-Up,” who got super excited when she saw Cristina arriving. This was taken as a good sign and Stankevicus invited them to dinner that night. The rest was history. McLewin is the owner of multiple businesses including Pennywise Properties, Rent of Sullivan County, Inc., Bright Advertising, an avocado farm in California and



Maclean Construction, which builds and remodels homes. He also serves as vice chair of the Catskills Food Hub board. One of his goals for the food hub is reaching out to local schools and teaching students how to cook and make healthy culinary choices. McLewin is also a member of the Sullivan County Community Chorus and was part of the group that performed at Carnegie Hall last May. Aby-Azar, born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, has had a highly successful career in communications, working for publications in her home country before earning a job at The Wall Street Journal where she spent 20 years as Deputy Managing Editor and then Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal Americas. She helped the paper target the Latin American market by offering content for Spanish and Portuguese speakers, appealing to the top-tier business community. At one-point The Wall Street Journal Americas had 1.6 million readers. Aby-Azar is fluent in Portuguese and English, and also speaks Span-

continued on page 15 P R I D E AWA R D S 1 3

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Mark McLewin and Cristina Aby-Azar continued from page 13

ish. She now works as a consultant for Global Gateway Advisors, a communications consultancy that handles a multitude of projects around the world. One such project that Aby-Azar was a part of included securing former U.S. President Barack Obama for a 2019

speaking engagement for Client Grupo Globo, Brazil's largest media group. Locally, Aby-Azar has done some volunteer HR work with the Chamber, and spent some time teaching English as a second language as

continued on page 17


This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recipients of the Pride Award for Distinguished Achievement, Mark McLewin and Cristina Aby-Azar.

P R I D E AWA R D S 1 5


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Mark McLewin and Cristina Aby-Azar continued from page 15 part of Ethelbert Crawford Library’s Literacy Program in Monticello. She also volunteers at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Together, McLewin and Aby-Azar purchased Cannie D’s in Neversink in late 2015, and with the help of Stankevicus, a five-star chef who was then working at one of the Top 20 restaurants in the country in Manhattan, has transformed it into the highly successful Neversink General Store (NGS). Not only does NGS serve as a one-stop shop for members of the Neversink community but it also offers culinary options that are affordably priced and out of this world. The trio make a good team. McLewin is in charge of the backbone of the operation, as well as most of the marketing and advertising. Cristina manages human resources and customer service and is constantly looking for local and unique products to add to the store's shelves. Apart from overseeing the kitchen, Stankevicus leads NGS’ fast growing catering business and helps with pretty much everything else. Some of NGS’ catering highlights include having done about 20 weddings, ranging from 100-250 people, catering the Town of Wallkill Boys & Girls Club’s largest fundraiser in Circleville, and when Resorts World Catskills was being built, served meals to 820 construction workers in under 30 minutes. Today, Aby-Azar and McLewin, individually and collectively are members of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association, Sullivan 2019

County Chamber of Commerce and Bethel “We chose to Business Association. live here and One of McLewin’s we want to pet peeves is when cooperate and people say there’s make the nothing to do in Sullivan County or you community can’t make money better. We don’t here. His belief: “If just want to live you’re motivated, you here and not be can.” a part of it.” McLewin also offered the following advice. “Watch and listen. This store [NGS] is not about me. It’s what they [the customers] want. Many business owners inflict their desires upon their endeavor. It’s not about you, it’s what the clients desire.” As for why they feel motivated to be involved locally, Aby-Azar explains, “We chose to live here and we want to cooperate and make the community better. We don’t just want to live here and not be a part of it.” McLewin jokes: “It is also related to my inability to say no! I jump into a job, keep the job, and then get another. I look at things and say: ‘What’s missing.’ “Cris and I are honored to receive the Distinguished Service Award,” McLewin said. “My first response was ‘Who voted for us?’ I have always kept a reserved profile and eschewed attention. That is increasingly tougher with Neversink General. Cris, Jaime and I do make a good team and I love sharing great food. Thank you mystery voters!” P R I D E AWA R D S 1 7

Catskill Regional Medical Center salutes all of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sullivan Pride Award Honorees.

Thannk yo youu for all that you do for our community.

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Distinguished Service Award:

Sheila Lashinsky Story and photo by Carol Montana here is a wall in her Monticello home where Sheila Lashinsky has what can only be described as a shrine to her late mother, Rose Garfinkel. “My mother volunteered at Community General Hospital after my father died. She started around 1979 as a receptionist, then did bingo for the activities.” Lashinsky continues with a list of her


mom’s volunteer activities, which included snack deliveries and running the gift shop. “She worked in almost every unit, every floor, everyone knew Rose Garfinkel – if you were at the hospital for one day … you knew my mother.” A newspaper article from September 2000 tallied Rose’s total hours at the hospital at over 37,000, making her the champion volunteer at annual recognition dinners.

continued on page 21

Lashinsky with a quilt presented by the 2010 Sullivan County Memory Walk Committee in 2010 in appreciation of her involvement and advocacy.


P R I D E AWA R D S 1 9



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Sheila Lashinsky continued from page 19 If it’s possible for the spirit of volunteerism to be inherited, then Lashinsky is a shining example. “I must have part of my mother’s DNA,” she said. Tallying Lashinsky’s own volunteer hours can leave you breathless. She’s been volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association for 26 years. She started by keeping track of the Safe Return Program overseen by what was then called the Sullivan / Delaware Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (S/D). But the reason Lashinsky stayed involved was because both the wife of her employer, attorney Jack Aks, and later Aks himself became victims of the disease. In 1993 Lashinsky became a Member at Large of the S/D Chapter. “They put me on the board almost right away and I thought I’d better learn a little more about Alzheimer’s, so I started going to the support groups.” She met a lot of people there, and their stories fueled her fervor to fight the disease. When the Alzheimer’s Association started doing fundraisers, Lashinsky got involved with the Memory Walk. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help,’ and all of a sudden, I’m in charge.” One of her first Memory Walks started in front of the Sullivan County Government Center. The late Assemblyman Jake Gunther was the Grand Marshal. “We began at the Government Center and walked up and down Broadway. It was really nice because all the businesses were open, and they waved to us.” Lashinsky was also involved with the 1998 Mock Wedding fundraiser at Bernie’s Holiday Restaurant. In this role-reversal celebration, Realtor Myrna Ginsberg was the groom, attorney Eric Groper played the bride, and current County Clerk Danny Briggs was the Maid of Honor. “I was the Wedding Planner,” said Lashinsky. “It was extremely successful. … We also did a 2019

Tallying Lashinsky’s own volunteer hours can leave you breathless. She’s been volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association for 26 years.

Mock Anniversary, and I played one of the children.” In 1999, the S/D Chapter merged with the Hudson Valley Chapter to become the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley. Other volunteer activities have Lashinsky being a facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group at Achieve and serving as publicist for Sullivan County Alzheimer’s Association events. “I’m the communicator. I call a lot of these caregivers to keep up with them.” She’s also an advocate for the cause, contacting congresspeople, senators, etc. Around four years ago, the Sullivan County Memory Walk merged with the Orange County Walk and now takes place at Montgomery’s Thomas Bull Memorial Park. It was hard for some local walkers to get there, so Lashinsky made arrangements with the Alzheimer’s CEO for a bus. As an all-purpose volunteer, she made sure the Sullivan County Walk had enough food and parking, police supervision and EMT services. “Nobody else worries about those things when Sheila’s around. I always feel responsible,” she said. “It’s a problem because I drive myself and everyone else crazy. But instead of being paranoid, they now say I’m ‘detail oriented.’” Being a detail person comes naturally for the former 31-year county employee. She started as the personnel office executive secretary, then became a technician responsible for job descriptions, applications and helping with exams. Lashinsky is also active in the Monticello Kiwanis Club where she’s involved with the Sweet Dreams project, which works to

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Sheila Lashinsky continued from page 19


tinguished Service Award from the Builders Club, Aktion Club, for being Publicity Chair and others. As a token of appreciation for her involvement and advocacy, Lashinsky was presented with a quilt by the Sullivan County Walk Committee in 2010. The nomination letter for the Sullivan County Pride Distinguished Service Award states in part, Sheila is “the go-to person in many groups … she knows how to get group members active … she is non-stop and goes above and beyond on all committees … she gives her heart, soul and financial assistance to many of the programs she volunteers in … when Sheila is around, you know things are going to get done …” Mama Rose would be proud.

Congatlations Sheila Lashinsky, the Best Mom, Sister, Bubbie and Aunt, on receiving the Sullivan Count Distingished Serice Award. We are ver proud of you! With lots of love, Mindy, Liz, Andy, Gerald, Doris, David, Chelsea, Rachel, Megan, Jessica, Siera, Sarah, Rebecca and Johanna


make sure that children who are in foster care have their own duffel bag and muchneeded supplies, and don’t have to use a garbage bag to carry their possessions. Another Kiwanis Club project is the Builders Club, a service leadership club for 6-8th graders at the Monticello Middle School. The club builds character and leadership skills and encourages them to give back to the community. Lashinsky said, “Their favorite project is visiting the SPCA and the nursing home … it teaches them compassion.” Then there’s Lashinsky’s favorite – The Aktion Club, sponsored by Monticello and Woodridge Kiwanis, and comprised of members from Sullivan-Orange ARC, Center for Discovery and New Hope Community. “They love to participate in any kind of activity we have, including the Alzheimer’s Walk and the Walk for Hunger. At our 4th Annual Car Wash they had a great time spraying themselves and the cars.” Lashinsky said that of all the things she does as a volunteer, the Aktion Club, “they’ve got my heart.” Other volunteer activities include the United Way, the Office for the Aging, and a Kiwanis group that plants flowers on Jefferson Street and Route 42 in Monticello. With all her volunteer duties, Lashinsky still makes time to spend with her daughters – Elizabeth, and Mindy – as well as her five granddaughters. In her spare time, she loves to take photos, which she’s done for Sullivan Renaissance, senior trips, the Landfield Avenue Synagogue calendar and all the Monticello Kiwanis events. On the wall across from her mother’s awards, Lashinsky has some awards of her own, including a “Keep Going Award,” which states, “You are hereby declared one who never quits,” and other awards from the Sullivan County Legislature, a Dis-

P R I D E AWA R D S 2 3

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Congratuulations to alll the P rride of Sulliv ivan County Award Winners W

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Congratulations Randy Resnick • Bruce Davidson Mark McLewin & Cristina Aby-Azar Sheila Lashinsky • Lee Karasik 2019

Township Award (Liberty):

Bruce Davidson

Story and photo by Matt Shortall he year was 1865 when John Davidson helped build the Beaverkill Covered Bridge just north of Roscoe. A Scottish immigrant who originally settled near Downsville to raise sheep, John Davidson built another three covered bridges around Sullivan County, connecting the early settlers and their communities with one another. Some 154 years and six generations later, Bruce Davidson is keeping the family tradition of connecting communities and building things for the greater good alive and well.



A successful business owner, Davidson has been able to dedicate his free time toward initiatives to improve Liberty. “I’ve been very fortunate in life and now I’m able to give it back,” Davidson said, adding that he’s grateful and humbled by the Township Pride Award. Currently the CEO of Pestech in Liberty, Davidson previously served as the Town of Liberty deputy supervisor. Growing up, he attended Liberty Central School District and later enrolled in SUNY Sullivan. He married Mary Shapiro in his early 20s and together they started a family. Mary and Bruce’s children include sons Mark and Bobby, their daughter Stefani and

Bruce Davidson stands inside the wreckage of the old Liberty Theater, which he has committed to resurrecting.

continued on page 27 P R I D E AWA R D S 2 5


26 P R I D E AWA R D S


Bruce Davidson


Believe it or not, streetscape is important to a community. It gives you a sense of comfort and pride,” Davidson said. After a few years of doing the flower baskets, Davidson said he’s been impressed with the enthusiasm for local donations, as well as the volunteer efforts of groups such as Sullivan Renaissance. “It makes you want to get out and walk the streets,” Davidson said. “Our health outcomes are so terrible, if we can just get people to go out and walk the streets that would be a great start.” Davidson is now in the middle of extensive renovations to restore the old Liberty Theater on South Main Street and give the building a second lease on life as a dinner theater and movie venue. “It’s my hope that the community will see this work being done and it will inspire them to pitch in. And I’m already seeing that happen,” Davidson said. Davidson said there’s been talk about improving the Greyhound bus station across the street from the theater, which could bring people from across the county to enjoy a rejuvenated Main Street in Liberty. “The intention is to try and urbanize Liberty to a certain degree,” Davidson explained. “This is our home. I remember Liberty in its heyday when I was a kid. You had restaurants on every corner and everything felt so alive.” With a little hard work, elbow grease and with the passion and dedication of volunteers, Davidson sees a bright future for Liberty on the horizon.


twin daughters Jenn and Nicole. Davidson says that being CEO of Pestech has allowed him to combine three of his passions: a fascination with insects, a skill for business and a deep commitment to helping others. Davidson has elevated the business over the past several years. In 2009, Pestech Pest Solutions was certified a National Pest Management Quality Pro. In 2010, Davidson and Pestech were asked to join Copesan, an alliance of regional pest management providers united to offer exceptional service to their commercial clients. In 2014 and in 2018, Davidson won out against every other North American pest control company to be recognized as Copesan’s Large Partner of the Year. When he was presented with the award, Davidson recalled one of the more memorable stories from the beginning of his career. “One of the most memorable moments was many years ago when we received a call from a customer stating that there was a deer in their basement. I went with one of my technicians, and sure enough, a fawn accidentally walked through the bilco doors and down the stairs and was running around scared in the basement. Imagine two guys running around a basement trying to safely chase a deer out. This was way before YouTube or the video would have gone viral!” Bruce is certified in public health, holds many NYSDEC certifications, and is beyond proud that Pestech Pest Solutions has been in business for over 30 years. Above and beyond his business interests, Davidson has dedicated himself to improving the community where he grew up. Since 2016, the “Flower the Village” campaign partners with local organizations, businesses and town and village officials to install and maintain dozens of flower baskets throughout Liberty. With the goal of enhancing the overall beauty of the community, Davidson says it has been successful in raising the morale of the people who live in Liberty. “Some people had asked me ‘who cares about the baskets?’

continued from page 25

P R I D E AWA R D S 2 7


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Congratulations To All the Pride Award Recipients

28 P R I D E AWA R D S


Young Emerging Leader Award:

Lee Karasik

Story and photo by Isabel Braverman ithin minutes of meeting Lee Karasik (or possibly even seconds) it’s impossible not to feel his infectious positivity and enthusiasm. The Center for Discovery employee who is also a singer, photographer, foodie and EMT, is receiving this year’s Young Emerging Leader Award and it’s not hard to see what makes him so qualified to get that title.



The 32-year-old works as a generalist in the department of educational sustainability where he assists in the oversight of training all new employees, including the ten-day orientation process. “My colleagues call me the Siri of The Center,” Karasik says with a laugh. “It’s a privilege to be everyone’s ‘go-to’ when they are unsure of something or need a question answered.” But Karasik isn’t just an employee of

Lee Karasik sits at the ready to fullfill his role as ‘go-to’ guy.

continued on page 31 P R I D E AWA R D S 2 9

2019 Pride Awards

Publisher: Co- Editors: Editorial Assistants:

Presented by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Published by

Catskill-Delaware Publications, Inc. Publishers of the

(845) 887-5200 Callicoon, NY 12723 October 18, 2019 • Vol. CXXVIV, No. 37

Designer: Advertising Director: Assistant Advertising Director: Special Sections Coordinator: Advertising Coordinator: Business Manager: Assistant Business Manager: Telemarketing Coordinator: Monticello Office Manager: Classified Manager: Production Associates:

Circulation & Distribution:

Fred W. Stabbert III Joseph Abraham and Matt Shortall Isabel Braverman, Margaret Bruetsch, Kathy Daley, Patricio Robayo, Richard Ross, Jeanne Sager, Ed Townsend Rosalie Mycka Liz Tucker Barbara Matos Susan Panella Lillian Ferber Susan Owens Patricia Biedinger Michelle Reynolds Margaret Bruetsch Janet Will Elizabeth Finnegan, Nyssa Calkin, Petra Duffy, Peter Melnick, Jessica Roda Taylor Lamerand, Anthony Bertholf, Phil Grisafe

Congratulations to Randy Resnick Mark McLewin & Cristina Aby-Azar Your dedication and hard work Sheila Lashinsky are an inspiration to us all. Bruce Davidson Thank you for all your efforts to make Sullivan County such a great place Lee Karasik to live, work and play.

From all your friends at the

With Offices in Callicoon & Moncello Sullivan County's Community Newspaper for 128 Years

30 P R I D E AWA R D S

845­887­5200 2019

Lee Karasik continued from page 29

The Center, he also used to utilize their services. He was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Karasik walks with a walker and also uses a wheelchair. “People always ask if I wish I was normal and my response is always the same – ‘I’ve been this way my whole life; this is my norm,’” Karasik said. From the time he was born until he was 18-years-old, he had occupational and physical therapy at The Center. “When I graduated from high school, there was only one place that I could truly see myself working long-term, because here at The Center the sky is the limit,” Karasik said. “We have a tagline that says ‘What happens here matters everywhere,’ and it’s really true.” Karasik was born and raised in Kauneonga Lake, NY and graduated from Monticello High School. This October marks his 14-year anniversary at The Center. “The Center is an amazing place; we do magical things here every day,” he said. “It’s interesting for me because I know both sides; I know the side of somebody who receives services here, and I know the side of somebody who’s an employee here.” Karasik’s job can bring him anywhere from his office in Rock Hill to the fields of the farm on campus. He also trains employees in CPR and first aid and teaches strategies for crisis intervention and prevention revised (SCIP-R.) It goes back to him being the Siri of The Center. “I get to wear a lot of hats, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. In addition to working at The Center, Karasik is also an EMT. He got involved in emergency medical services after he graduated from high school because he wanted to give back to his community. However, when he first went to his local 2019

“I’m grateful to have the knowledge and skill needed to help others in their time of need. There is no better feeling in the world.”

ambulance corps, they told him he couldn’t become a First Responder or EMT because of his disability. But he persisted. “I never let people tell me no,” he said. He reached out to his friend Alex Rau, who is now the 911 and EMS Coordinator for the county. Rau set him up with some people at the Jeffersonville Volunteer First Aid Corps. It was there he met the captain, Ruth Ackermann, and she believed he could do it. “I went through the same curriculum and training that everybody else in my class did and had to pass the state practical and written exam, before I could be certified. I’ve been an EMT now for almost six years and was recently promoted to co-captain,” Karasik said. He told a story about helping a woman who was having a medical emergency at Brew in Rock Hill recently. He was there and helped her and later found out that because of his efforts, she was going to be ok. “To me that’s what it’s all about,” Karasik said. “I’m grateful to have the knowledge and skill needed to help others in their time of need. There is no better feeling in the world. People have done so much for me in my lifetime and this is just my way of giving back.” And now it’s his turn for the community to reflect back on him by recognizing his efforts with a Pride Award, which he says is an “honor and a privilege.” “I don’t do all of this — the community involvement and what I do at The Center — to be recognized,” he said. “I just do it because I enjoy it. They say when you love what you do you never have to work a day in your life.”

P R I D E AWA R D S 3 1

Congratulatio ons

Randy! Daniel Resnick Rentals

Downtown Mountaindale Development


32 P R I D E AWA R D S


Pride Journal 2019  

Every year, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce recognizes a special group of individuals. Learn about their 2017 honorees in our 2017 S...

Pride Journal 2019  

Every year, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce recognizes a special group of individuals. Learn about their 2017 honorees in our 2017 S...