Andrew and Pamela Baumann, founders of New York Families for Autistic Children, Anthony Battaglia, founder of the Rockwood Park Baseball League, John Engler, Scout Leader of St. Barnabas Boy Scouts and Peter Marino, board member of the Howard Beach Civic Forum, were all recognized for their civic activism before community residents and local elected officials including congressmen Anthony Weiner, Joseph Crowley, and Gregory Meeks, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, and Councilman Joseph Addabbo.
South Queens Democratic Club District Leader Frank Gulluscio said that the organization’s board chose the most worthy honorees regardless of their political affiliation. Gulluscio said that this year’s theme for selection honorees was “Service to Our Youth.”
“Four of our honorees are involved in serving youth,” he said. “Our fifth honoree served (the community) in other ways,”
Andrew Baumann has been in the human services field for 25 years. He is the president and CEO of New York Families of Autistic Children, which he and his wife, Pamela, founded in 1998.
Bauman is also an adjunct professor of Psychology at Queens College. He serves on Governor David Paterson’s Task Force for Autism and is a charter member of the World Autism Organization, which represents 26 countries.
He has also served as president of Community Education Council District 27 and as an Executive Board Member of the Howard Beach Civic Association. Baumann sits on the Best Practices in Special Education Committee of the Department of Education.
In 2000, he founded the Autism Coalition of Empire State, which serves more than 50,000 families. He has also served as chairman of the New York City Autism Task Force.
His wife Pamela grew up in Ozone Park and Howard Beach, and has always been community-minded.
She has served as P.T.A. president for P.S. 232, as well as on the board of M.S. 202’s P.T.A., and has been part of the School Leadership Team at both. Baumann has also served as president of the District Council of P.T.A. presidents. Her work with Children with Disabilities won her a Woman of Distinction award.
Baumann’s are proud parents of twin boys Anthony and Andrew, and their daughter Amanda.
Anthony Battaglia moved from Brooklyn to Ozone Park when he was a teenager. He brought with him his love of sports.
After serving as a New York City school bus driver for 25 years, Battaglia moved with his wife and two children to Howard Beach in 1989. Soon after arriving in the community, he was invited by former P.S. 207 Principal Guy Rossiello to organize a boys and girls basketball league.
He created the Rockwood Park Summer Basketball League, which is sponsored by the Police Athletic League. More than 500 children, ages 9 through 18, play in the league, which will begin its 20th year next summer.
Throughout his 34 years as Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 237 at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, John Engler has received many service-related awards, including The Queens Federation of Churches’ Shepherd Emblem and the Boy Scouts of America’s District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver.
Engler has served as the treasurer of Boy Scout Troop 237 for 29 years and as the vice president of the Saint Barnabas Church congregation for 15 years. The church is Engler’s second home.
One of his proudest scouting accomplishments was serving on the committee that commissioned Boy Scouting to allow Cub Scouts to camp. A pilot program was established in Queens and camping for Cub Scouts was eventually adopted nationwide.
On September 11, 200, Engler secured immediate authorization to open the doors of St. Barnabas to stranded travelers from Kennedy Airport when asked for help from Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton.
Peter Marino has been involved with the Howard Beach community for more than 30 years.
Immediately after moving into the neighborhood, Marino and his wife, Irene, became involved in St. Helen Roman Catholic Church, where he serves as the director of hospitality.
Marino is a member of the men’s prayer group and has been a member of the Holy Name Society for 26 years. He was president four times and a board member for 14 years. Marino is also a Eucharistic minister.
For the last nine years, Marino has been the chairperson for the Long Island Blood Drive. Marino has also been an active member of the Howard Beach Civic Forum since its inception, serving for four years as a member of the group’s board of directors.