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Sunnysiders of the Year to be Honored Thursday

Eileen and Don McCallian (Photo: Luke Adams)

Oct. 15, 2013 By Christian Murray

Two long-serving residents will be receiving the Sunnysider of the Year award at the Tangra ballroom (39-23 Queens Blvd) Thursday evening.

Francis Schmidt, who is a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and the Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club, will be receiving the award for 2013, while Donald McCallian, who runs the community organization known as the United 40s Civic Association, will be the 2014 recipient.

Manny Gomez, president of, which is sponsoring the award, said the award is given yearly to “a local person who lives or works here for the contribution to the greater good, without regard to faith, fundraising, or politics.”

The award, officially called the Luke Adams’ Sunnysider of the Year award, was first bestowed on Luke Adams in 2011, and last year’s honoree was Queen of Angels pastor Brian Dowd.

“Usually, with our events, we put up posters and race around town to stir up interest,” said Patricia Dorfman, founder of “But over 100 tickets were sold in September in four days, and we had to start a waiting list.”

The reason for the big turnout is that people are aware of the decades of unpaid work Schmidt and McCallian have done for the community, Dorfman said. “They keep the Sunnyside-Woodside world spinning on its axis,” she said.

The Sunnyside Drum Corps youths will welcome entering guests, with live jazz playing throughout the course of the evening.

During the award segment, McCallian’s favorite song “God Bless America” will be performed by local opera singer Paula Hostetter, who will also sing “Danny Boy”.

Event committee member Anthony Lodati, of Lowery Wine & Liquors, is donating wine for attendees.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will be handing out the awards to Schmidt and

On hand will be Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Father Jerry Jecewiz, pastor of St. Raphael¹s Church, and Oguzhan Turan, the vice-president of the Turkish Cultural Center.

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house of O'shea

Happy for Eileen. A humble human being. Has class, grace and dignity– something a lot of younger women here in Sunnyside absolutely lack.

Marilyn S.

I’d happily second Christian Murray for the award. He’s doing a great job of community building here. Hope Jimmy Van Bramer reads this!

Mr. Magoo

I would like to nominate Reuben / Sunnysideposthatesme14 for Sunnysider of the Year! Can we have Jimmy Van Bramer hand Reuben the award under the el, by the 40th Street station, preferably right next to that newly erected art?


The person who makes Sunnysider of the year should be the guy who gets rid of Squirts the Change Bum, he’ll get MY vote!


Christian publishes a local paper. He does not volunteer. See those colorful things on the sides of the news? Those people pay him money.

The people being honored work for free.


@Fernando I couldn’t agree more about Christian Murray. Without him and this website we wouldn’t know a thing about what’s going on in the neighborhood. He puts in a lot of his time and effort to keep this going!

@Anonymous They should have both Paula Hostetter and Nicholle Bittlingmeyer (who is the soprano you are referring to). I say the more entertainment the better –

Congratulations to the recipients!


Who’s this opera singer? What about the girl who always sings at Van Bramer’s events…I think she sings at Queen of Angels. She would be the better local opera singer. At least she’s well-known.


Christian Murray should be the Sunnysider of the year for running the Sunnyside Post. I haven’t even heard of these people winning the awards.


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