April 16, 2013 By Christian Murray
The Turkish Cultural Center honored several Sunnyside residents last Thursday for their work in coming to the aid of victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Ty Sullivan, Mickey McCreesh, Nick Murphy and Gina Rattan were honored by the TCC for their fundraising efforts as well as their clothing drives, where they carted van loads of supplies down to the Rockaways week after week.
The event marked the TCC’s 10th annual Friendship Dinner—which was held at the Flushing Town Hall–and focused on what the wider community had done to help ease the suffering of Hurricane victims.
TCC is part of a larger, worldwide group called Hizmet, which means “service,” in Turkish.
The Sunnyside contingent organized a special fundraising event for the victims—called Restaurants United for Sandy Help “RUSH’– that was held at the Sunnyside Community Center in November. The group’s efforts in recruiting restaurants, bars and musicians to the event, helped draw a crowd of nearly 500 attendees—that led to more than $20,000 being raised.
The TCC donated $50,000 toward rebuilding the Rockaway branch library—and served hot soup to those residents who were displaced shortly after the hurricane struck.
Ty Sullivan, who is known by many as the “Trivia” host at Bar 43, said that the Turkish group’s event was terrific.
“They could have elected to celebrate their own community but instead they opened it up to everyone,” he said, adding that they gave out awards to “a whole lot of Irish guys.”
Rattan, who was unable to attend, was the force behind a Facebook group called Sunnysidecares. She recruited volunteers through her Facebook page and then worked with McCreesh to transport items down to the Rockaways.
Pat Dorfman, also from Sunnyside, delivered a speech that introduced the winners. Dorfman, a Reform Jew, has developed a strong relationship with the leaders of the TCC.
In her speech, Dorfman provided an account of her dealings with the group.
“They help others without asking for personal gain. They fed thousands in [Thomas Noonan Park] during Ramadan, serving both dignitaries and homeless people.”
“They all try to pray for a few minutes, privately, five times a day, wherever they find themselves. They do not drink alcohol — which must be awful — and in general, and most unique to me, seem to seek to let their values determine their deeds.”
Murphy, upon receiving the honor, told the audience, “We do this not for an award but because we can.”
Meanwhile, McCreesh modestly pointed to the great works of the other volunteers.