Cong. Eliot Engel presents awards at Yonkers Historical Society Sunday

Congressman Eliot Engel presented Certificates of Achievement at the Yonkers Historical Society annual awards brunch Sunday. (l-r) Bayardo Villegas, manager of the Shop Rite Supermarket, was given the Corporate Leader Award; Declan Hoar, a senior at Sacred Heart High School, received the Volunteer of the Year Award; Mina Crasson, a Trustee of the Society, received the 2013 Key to History Award; Anne Kakos, a member of the World War II Cadet Nurse Corps, received the Special Recognition Award; Cong. Engel; and Mary M. Hoar, president of the Yonkers Historical Society.

The annual awards brunch of the Yonkers Historical Society was held Sunday, Nov. 3 at noon at the Riverview, 1 Warburton Ave., Hastings. The 2013 Key to History will be awarded to historian and historical dramatist Mina Crasson. Utilizing her skills as an educator, she promotes both the knowledge and love of history to people of all ages. Through her portrayals and presentations, she creates living history, bringing to life both the people and events of our past, carrying them beyond what is read in a book. Her mission to honor the place of women in American history has brought women of history to life, including Dolly Madison, Emma Lazarus, Emily Roebling, women of the American Revolution and ladies of the 19th century women’s clubs.

Also honored at the luncheon was Declan Hoar for his years of assistance and service at special events. A senior at Sacred Heart High School, Hoar went above and beyond what was required for his school community service project and began assisting the society at every event and program, including its last few annual luncheons. Hoar can be found toting, dusting, and arranging as well as selling flea market items, serving refreshments, greeting visitors and sharing some of his historic knowledge about the society’s jewel of a museum. He is the proud son of Joe and Joann Hoar, and a fifth-generation Yonkers resident.

Bayardo Villegas, director of the Tuckahoe Road ShopRite, was awarded the Corporate Leader Award, to honor and celebrate the outstanding contributions a local businessperson has made to the Yonkers Historical Society. This award is to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and support, and for working with the society to make a difference in Yonkers. Villegas and his ShopRite staff are happy to do whatever is needed to help the Yonkers community. He reaches out whenever there is a need for wide-ranging community causes as varied as Relay for Life or the Walk for Wounded Veterans, to donating water for athletic events or providing holiday baskets for Yonkers citizens who do not have the means to give their families Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.

Anne Kakos received a Special Recognition Award to honor her service as a member of the World War II U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and her efforts to preserve the history of the Cadet Nurses. Since 2000, Kakos has been actively involved in the movement to have the members of the Cadet Nurse Corps officially recognized as veterans for their service during World War II. She has had numerous articles published in local papers and has been interviewed by several magazines. Representing members of the WWII Nurse Corps, Kakos testified at the 2009 House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Subcommittee hearings for the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corp Equity Act. The Yonkers City Council, the State Senate, the State Assembly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Crestwood Historical Society have recognized her efforts. She completed her own three-year nursing course at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., as a U.S. Cadet Nurse in 1946.

Historical musician Linda Russell presented “Nineteenth Century in Song and Story” at the event. For 30 years, Russell has explored American’s past through song. She served as an 18th century balladeer at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City, and currently performs at historic sites, schools libraries and community centers around the country. For more information, call the Yonkers Historical Society at 914-961-8940.