The Freeport-Roosevelt Branch #2147 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP held its Annual Freedom Fund Award’s and Membership Dinner on May 17 at the Coral House in Baldwin.
Through the annual awards dinner ceremony, the organization recognized five men and women from Freeport and Roosevelt. Among them included the Freeport Housing Authority director, John Hrvatin who was given the Community Service Award and siblings — Lana Moustakas Mannetto and Billy Moustakas, owners the Imperial Diner was given the Business Award.
Hrvatin was given a Community Service award and recognized for turning around the housing authority from “troubled and distressed” by increasing the housing authority’s HUD scoring in areas such as management, occupancy, finance and physical conditions. According to Douglas Mayers, president of Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP, who presented Hrvatin with his award, since the inception of the “new” Moxey Rigby project, he’s been committed to providing residents with a place to call him that breaks the stereotypes of public housing.
The Moustakas siblings — Lana and Billy were awarded the Business Award and recognized for their continued efforts to not only keep their family business open but for their commitment to the community. The Imperial Diner initially opened in 1972 by their parents Kosta and Georgia.
The Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP has been in a volunteer organization in the community since 1909 and united members of both communities for the last 110 years. The mission of the NAACP, according to its website, is to “secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.” A mission, that according to Douglas Mayers, president of Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP said, is still relevant and needs addressing today.
Other honorees included Dr. Marine Hazelton, Superintendent of Roosevelt USFD who received the Education Award and Earl Phillips the Secretary-Treasurer of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100 received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Each of the honorees was recognized, according to Mayers, has made a local impact through their work over a number of years.
The dinner was also a membership drive to encourage nonmember attendees to join the organization. Recently, the NAACP reactivated its youth branch and welcomed a handful of teenagers to the organization. The membership to the NAACP, according to the organization’s secretary, Darleyne Mayers, is important as it serves as an opportunity to speak for the people of the community. Through the organization, education, criminal justice and housing issues are often addressed and give voice to injustices that can evoke change.
“Giving back to others is something we should do,” Darleyne said.