Golf is known as a game of inches; it doesn’t take much to wind up in a sand trap or miss a putt. Off the golf course, it doesn’t take much to notice the amount of time and energy Robert Blakeman and Dominick Minerva Jr. have spent giving back to the Valley Stream community.
Due to their years of service in the area, both Blakeman and Minerva were honored at the Valley Stream Republican Committee annual golf outing on Aug. 7. John DeGrace, the executive leader of the committee, said the decisions to honor the two men were relatively easy.
Minerva grew up in the village, graduating from Central High School in 1995. He still practices law in Valley Stream at the firm of Minerva & D’Agostino, P.C. and said he enjoys networking with other community members each day.
“I’m here every day, all day,” he said. “I patronize the local businesses and I interact with other business owners, the local government and the community members.”
Minerva added that he was very grateful upon hearing about his honor from the committee. Shortly before the golf outing, Minerva’s father, Dominick Minerva Sr., died, so he did not attend the event. “I am sorry that due to my loss I was unable to attend and receive the honor,” he said.
He was a Valley Stream Republican Committeeman for five years, the vice president of the Valley Stream Republican Club for two years and has served as the club’s president for the last three years.
“It helps me to keep in touch not only with members of the Valley Stream Republican Committee but also with the community as well,” Minerva said of being honored. “The Valley Stream Republican Club is the social arm of the Valley Stream Republican Committee and it gives me a chance interact with community.”
Blakeman, a World War II veteran, enlisted in the United States Merchant Marines when he was 17. From there he accomplished many feats, both professionally and personally. Blakeman’s career of public service includes three terms in the New York State Assembly, working as Valley Stream village attorney for seven years and the distinction of being the first president of Franklin Hospital. He and his wife, Betty, who died in 1995, raised five children together. Blakeman now has 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“I am very privileged and I’m very appreciative,” Blakeman said of being honored. “I’m very sorry that my co-honoree is not here.”
Mayor Ed Fare discussed his admiration for Blakeman after finishing a round of golf. “Bob Blakeman has been instrumental in almost every aspect of life in Valley Stream,” Fare said. “He’s a man that I respect greatly, he’s a man of great wisdom, pride and integrity. He’s a man that has lived a life his family can be proud of.”
The outing took place at the Lido Beach Golf Club for the 10th consecutive year. DeGrace said about 130 golfers hit the links and prizes were given out for several feats, including longest drive and foursome with the lowest overall score.
Predictably, DeGrace said, the foursome with the lowest score on the day happened to be the course owners, although they declined the prize. The money raised will go toward supporting Republican candidates as well as various charitable organizations, DeGrace explained.