After serving two years as the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce president, Carol Burak passed the baton onto Steve Wangel at the chamber’s annual installation dinner on Jan. 25.
“He’ll make a wonderful president,” Burak told the Herald. “He’s organized, he’s a business owner himself and he’s very savvy.”
Wangel is the owner of The Kitchen Loft on Merrick Road, and served as the vice president under Burak. He joined the chamber in 2001, when former Lyn Gift Shop owner Bill Gaylor asked him to become a part of the board of directors.
Since then, Wangel has been instrumental in increasing the chamber’s membership. He founded the chamber’s newsletter and helped introduce Chamber Dollars, a program in which a customer at a local store could receive a coupon to use at another local store.
As president, Wangel said, he would evaluate the development proposals that the village receives and would make recommendations to the village’s board of trustees. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s certainly worth doing,” he said.
The dinner also served as a way to honor local volunteers, including former Chief Joe Neve, Pearsall’s Station owner Brian Fern and Lanzello Remodeling owner Bryan Lanzello.
Neve served as the Lynbrook Police Department chief for 27 years. As such, he revolutionized the department’s communications system, hired the first female officer in department history and added an inspector’s rank to help fortify the chain of command. In addition, Neve helped increase the number of detectives to investigate crime in the village and approved the installation of electronic traffic and parking tickets. When he stepped down, he was the longest-tenured chief in New York state.
“He’s put in his time and he’s done well,” Burak said.
Business owners Fern and Lanzello were also honored for the work they do in the village. Fern said he tries to do whatever hecan to help in the village, including donating money to local organizations and donating food. And Lanzello donated a flowerbed to Our Lady of Peace and serves as the president of the Lynbrook Titans football club and as a coach for the roller hockey team.
“They’re all good people and they deserve to be honored,” Burak said.
Wangel added that he was very appreciative of what the honorees “have done for Lynbrook.
Mike Smollins contributed to this story.