It was a packed house at Villa Umberto Restaurant where volunteers of the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament committee gathered to celebrate the success of the July 16th tournament held at Dutch Broadway School. The tournament hosted over 4,500 people and featured the NY Knicks and Knick Superstar John Starks. Over 170 volunteers attended the appreciation dinner and were saluted by State Senator Jack Martins, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, County Legislator John Ciotti, Councilman Ed Ambrosino, Assemblyman Edward Ra, committee members and community leaders.
The “thank you” dinner was a huge hit with awards, presentations and a screening of Cablevision’s TV piece on the tournament as well as local television producer “Sketch Lucas’” 45 minute documentary film of the tournament. The television programs airing will be announced.
“This dinner was about the volunteers who made this tournament an incredible success. Over 4,500 people came to the tournament this year and I couldn’t have been more proud of the effort the community made to make this event so much fun for everyone who attended,” said Senator Martins. “The people who made this tournament were our young people. They did all the work and made it happen. They were organized, they planned, they worked together and the results were sensational.”
During the dinner, the championship Elmont Memorial Spartan Basketball team presented Senator Martins and Senator Skelos with autographed basketballs from the team in recognition of their support of the Elmont community.
Rocky Chambers, Captain of the Elmont Spartan Team, said in presenting the signed basketball, “This tournament means a lot to young people throughout our community. Elmont loves it. Senator Martins has been there for our team. He came to Hofstra for the championship. He rooted for us when everybody thought we couldn’t win. He had confidence in us. He was there for us and our school. And, he has stood by all of us. We wanted to let him know how much he meant to us.”
In receiving the ball from the team, Senator Martins thanked the players for their friendship. “The players that make up the Spartan team are some of the greatest young men I am proud to call friends. This ball will be proudly displayed in my office in Albany. It will be a constant reminder of the strength, determination and heart that the Spartans brought to the season. I can’t thank them enough for this special honor,” Martins said.
Presentations of Photos, Tickets, Awards and Special recognition were given to volunteers during the dinner: Qusarn Caldwell, Patrick LaRoque, Brandon Brown, Wedly Saintil, Jonathan Peck, Goldie Harrison, Darian Bryan, Franklin Thomas, Marvin Lee, Sandra Smith, Elmont On-Line, Highlighting Success and Donald Pierre-Louis all received honors.
Committee Chairman Scott Cushing made a special presentation to Elmont School Supt Al Harper, Dutch Broadway School Principal Walter Aksionoff and Elmont Memorial Principal John Capozzi for their support of the tournament. “This tournament is probably the biggest event for Elmont, Franklin Square and Floral Park. It’s a day where we all play together, have fun and celebrate our community,” said Dutch Broadway School Principal Walter Aksionoff.
There was a lot of humor and fun poked into the evening as well as Senator Skelos and Senator Martins kidded volunteers and one-upped each other throughout the night. Not to be left out, Dutch Broadway School Principal Walter Aksionoff got into the act as well as Elmont Coalition Chair Sandra Smith.
State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos thanked the crowd for their incredible efforts. “This tournament is one of the greatest events I have ever been to. The reason is all of you. You make it happen. Your hard work makes this day something that many of these young people will never forget.” In recognition of Skelos’ support the volunteers presented him with a collage photo prepared by Elmont resident Ellen Jackson.
The Elmont Spartan Basketball team was also congratulated for their exhibition with the Henry Viscardi School. Players Dillon Williams, Daniel Alexander, Kyle Johnson, Anthony Elechi, Tyler Dechalus, Reggie Pierre, Tristan Brown, Timothy Lewis, Michael Dugue and Rocky Chambers were thanked by Senator Martins and Senator Skelos for their work. “That game taught us a lot that day and it something we won’t ever forget,” said Chambers during the presentation.
County Legislator John Ciotti and Assemblyman Ed Ra were presented with commemorative photos of their support of the tournament as well. “Every year this tournament gets bigger and better,” said Legislator John Ciotti noting, “I love working side by side with all of you. I think those of us who worked in the food tent got a great workout that day as well!”
During the dinner, tournament committee chairperson spoke to the crowd about the tournament as well. Marvin Lee, referee chairman, said, “this tournament could never be a success without all of you. Over 200 volunteers put on the 3on3 and make it run. Thank you for your help, support and making this day so much fun for our community.”
Football Committee Chairman Donald Pierre-Louis noted, “when we put the football element into this tournament, we didn’t know how it would turn out. I personally want to thank Senator Martins for having the confidence in us as young adults to run this day and develop it the way we have. Because he stood with us, over 200 high school and college students played 7on7 football. Next year, it will be even better.”
Assemblyman Ed Ra took the occasion to thank the volunteers as well. “Last year, I was on the courts refereeing with all of you. It was one of the most rewarding days I have had in volunteering in the community. Thank you for letting me participate in this day and I am very proud to support it.”
The dinner concluded with special showing of Cablevision’s “Neighborhood Journal” and pre-screening of the 3on3 Documentary produced by Elmont’s Sketch Lukas and his production company.