By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association held its 59th annual dinner dance to honor its outgoing President Pasqualino “Pat” Russo at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn last Wednesday.
"The entire thing was very humbling," Russo said. "The thanks, the gratitude, the appreciation was almost overwhelming. And this was coming from people who have made my life as president easier over the past year. It was truly an outstanding experience."
Russo didn't have a prepared speech for the event, but simply got up to the podium to thank everyone who has helped him with his duties since last September.
"The board members, the guests, my family, the officers and committee chairs who organized our monthly meetings…did so much from the toy drive we had in December to the winter seminar, and the five additional CLE programs. Their efforts made my life easier, but somehow I'm the beneficiary of applause," Russo said.
There was a cocktail reception before Russo spoke, and BRLA past President Raymond L. Ferrier gave introductions once the program started. “No one over the years has been more distinguished in welcoming distinguished guests than Ray,” Russo said.
Another past president, Stephen D. Chiaino, introduced Russo. The two both went to Xaverian High School, but didn't meet until they attended Brooklyn Law. They have been friends ever since.
Russo also had kind words to say about the immediate past President Helen Z. Galette, who often helped him as president and pointed out that the association is in good hands with incoming President Joann Monaco.
"Helen made things so much easier for me, and then I have Joann following me, and she's going to quickly eclipse what I've done because she's determined and has great leadership skills,” Russo said.
Perhaps most importantly, Russo wanted to thank his family, his wife Joanne and his mother Anna. "None of this is even possible without my wife, who gives me the time and flexibility I wouldn't otherwise have if she's not taking a primary role with raising the kids."
“My mother came here with my father from Italy,” he said. “She was a seamstress who taught me the importance of education; she was my first and probably most important educator.”
Hon. Vincent Del Giudice, who swore Russo into his position back in September, was also on hand, as were representatives from Borough President Marty Markowitz's office, State Senators Vincent Gentile’s and Marty Goldman's offices, and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis' office, all of whom presented Russo with proclamations. "I went home with a lot of bling," Russo said.
Russo is still officially the BRLA's president until June 30, but Monaco will not get sworn in until September.