As they pondered who to name the Inwood Civic Association’s Citizen of the Year, David Hance, the group’s president, and five other board members were looking for someone reputable and dedicated to the community, Hance said.
Inwood businessman and Far Rockaway resident Michael Gliner was the unanimous choice, because, as Hance noted, Gliner has made his mark in the community by being more than just a local merchant.
“He is very involved in all things Inwood,” Hance said. “He’s got his hands in a lot of things.”
Gliner, 62, the civic association’s chairman — who was not involved in the vote — said he spends almost 70 percent of his typical week in Inwood, either at his business, PIP Printing, or doing volunteer work.
“I purchased the business in 2005,” Gliner said. “I was told that in order to be successful and respected, you’d have to give back to the community. I was always a believer in giving back to begin with.”
With that advice in mind, Gliner joined the civic association in 2005. He served as its president for six years, and is now president of the Peninsula Kiwanis Club.
For more than 50 years, Peninsula Kiwanis has been active in the Five Towns, offering financial support for student scholarships and organizations such as the Five Towns Early Learning Center in Inwood.
Civic association board member Kathy Mennella supported Gliner’s nomination for Citizen of the Year because of his willingness to help and, Mennella added, because Gliner never asks for anything in return.
“He has Kiwanis donate food to the Five Towns Community Center, and is always at almost every Inwood event,” she said. “He is always doing something for the community.”
Richard Brodsky, of Atlantic Beach, whose Richard M. Brodsky Foundation helps raise money to research a cure or vaccine for AIDS, recalled that during the coronavirus pandemic, Gliner volunteered his time to help Brodsky deliver food to the community center, in Lawrence.
“He’s very helpful,” said Brodsky. “He had a big SUV, and we donated about $20,000 of food to the center on about four to five trips from Westbury. He’s just always there for the community.”
Brodsky said they made six round trips.
Gliner helps to host Peninsula Kiwanis’s annual Christmas Dream Breakfast at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, in Inwood, where toys and coats are donated. More than 800 toys were distributed last holiday season.
Civic association vice president Rosemarie Reo said that Gliner was long overdue to be recognized for his work in the community. “He needs to be acknowledged for all his work,” Reo said, describing him as someone who wants to be involved in whatever is going on in the town.
The association presented its first Citizen of the Year award in 1963. Past recipients include Hance and Pete Sobol, the unofficial mayor of Inwood. Last year, as the pandemic finally faded, the association honored the 2020 winner, Inwood Fire District Commissioner Frank Parise.
“It’s a feeling of awe when I look at past recipients, Gliner said. “I know I give a lot and do a lot, but wow.”
Sobol, a fixture at the community center, died in 2021. “I’m very proud to have been involved with Pete Sobol, may he rest in peace,” Gliner said. “We fought long and hard in the community. He would call me up when there was an event, and I never said no. Pete was the hardest worker I knew, and it was an honor to be his friend.”
Sobol served as vice president of the civic association when Gliner was president, and was also a longtime member of Peninsula Kiwanis.
Reo announced this year’s Citizen of the Year on the civic association’s Facebook page, and there were posts of enthusiastic support for Gliner’s selection. Inwood resident Patricia Vacchio wrote, “Excellent choice!” Five Towns native Frank Mistero Jr. added, “Well deserved.”
The association’s Citizen of the Year dinner is scheduled for Saturday, at 7 p.m., at the Inwood Country Club, at 50 Peppe Drive.
Brodsky said he planned to attend, in support of his friend of more than 15 years. “Tremendous guy,” Brodsky said. “Well connected in Inwood and Far Rockaway.”
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