Senator Joseph Griffo presented New York State Commendation Awards to several community members today during a ceremony at the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES in New Hartford.

Griffo says the award is one way the Senate recognizes exceptional people who have made a lasting contribution to their community.

Awardees received a personalized plaque and commendation coin as part of the ceremony.

Those honored included:

  • Utica Councilman Bill Philips
  • Former Oneida County Legislator Les Porter
  • John Wade, owner of Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse
  • Rufus J. "Nini" Ventura, owner of Ventura's Restaurant
  • The Rev. Paul Drobin, former pastor of Holy Trinity Church and Transfiguration Church in Rome and St. John the Evangelist in New Hartford
  • The Rev. Philip Hearn of St. Mary's St. Peter's Church in Rome
  • Sonia Martinez of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association
  • Frank Tomaino, historian and Observer-Dispatch contributor
  • Former Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks
  • Pat Costello, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local
  • Pastor Michael Servello Sr., founder of Redeemer Church and the Compassion Coalition
  • Pastor Michael Servello Sr., founder of Redeemer Church and the Compassion Coalition

"All of the individuals honored today are leaders in the community who enrich the social, health and educational well-being of their fellow citizens," Sen. Griffo said. "They demonstrate leadership by working on neighborhood causes, mentoring and teaching others, volunteering or simply serving as a role model. Their efforts and dedication improve the quality of life in every aspect of their communities."