September 15th, 2022 – Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter was joined by members of the Town Board to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of 5 residents, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. The ceremony returned to the Islip Town agenda after a two year COVID hiatus. Hispanic Heritage Month begins Thursday, September 15.
"These 5 residents have made extraordinary accomplishments and have contributed to their communities in ways beyond measure. We are honored to recognize these outstanding citizens who have set an example of which we all can be proud," said Islip Supervisor, Angie Carpenter.
Giraldo Vega currently serves the Brentwood Fire Department as 2nd Lieutenant of Engine Company 4 where he oversees the training of the many brave men and women who serve the community as volunteer firefighters. Giraldo joined the Department over 6 years ago and since then, has risen through the ranks, while building a reputation for his calm demeanor during distressing events.
Giraldo’s dedication to the well-being of his community stems farther than serving the Brentwood Fire District and his volunteer work with the Brentwood Youth Activities organization. He is also an advocate for organ donation.
In April 2009, Giraldo’s son, 11-year-old Anthony, passed away suddenly. While embracing the devastating news, he and his family made the decision to donate Anthony’s organs to save lives of children in need of organ transplants. In the years since, Giraldo has been dedicated to informing the public about becoming an organ donor, and uses his own experience to advocate for the gift that can be given in tragic circumstances.
As part of his advocacy, Giraldo partners with Telemundo and Channel 7 as a Gift of Life Ambassador, to educate the community about organ and tissue donation, helping to break the stigma, and miss information associated with organ donation.
United States Army Veteran Alexander Lopez has passionately devoted his life for the service of others within the community. Through the creation of programs aimed to improve a person’s quality of life, Alexander has dedicated countless hours serving the underserved in the community. He established PAR FORE, a mentorship program designed to utilizes therapeutic principles inherent in the sport of golf to foster positive personal, social, and physical growth and development.
Alex has offered pro bono occupational therapy to members of the community, as well as helped local non-profits modify their programs to better serve their patients. Among his many achievements, included the founding of Inclusive Sports and Fitness, Inc. in 2013. Combining neuroscience, health sciences, mentorships and coaching, physical fitness and sports performance training, the organization aims to enhance the lives of children with disabilities through enhancing their abilities, in turn allowing for them to participate in mainstream sports and recreational activities. Impressively, Alexander volunteers 20 to 30 hours a week to bettering the lives of those within our community.
Former Suffolk County Police Detective and current Congressional Aide to Congressman Lee Zeldin, Belinda Alvarez-Groneman has established herself within our community as a civic-minded leader dedicated to the betterment of her community.
Firmly committed to empowering individuals and transforming the lives of residents, Belinda has served on the board of several organizations. For over 25 years Belinda has served on the board for the non-profit Pronto of Long Island and on the Town of Islip Youth Board. She is the President of the Board of Directors- Eastern Region for the American Cancer Society; a Trustee for Suffolk County Community College and the college’s foundation; on the board for Adelante of Suffolk County; and is an active member of Islip Food for Hope, just to name a few of the many organizations she is involved with. Ever committed to assisting all within the community, she finds pride in seeing her dedication to non-profit organization translate into her position as Congressional Aide to Congressman Lee Zeldin. Through her tenure she has assisted in solving over 15,000 constituent cases, assuring every resident has an enjoyable quality of life.
At just 20 years old, Joshua Chan exemplifies the determination and leadership skills that many great leaders in our society embody. As a student in the Brentwood Central School District, Joshua saw firsthand the struggles his neighbors experienced while adapting to America.
A diverse community both socio-economically and culturally, Joshua, at an early age learned the power of solidarity and the potential it has to formulate much needed changed. Joshua has volunteered with many local organizations including Make the Road NY and Eileen’s Free Bodega. As well, he is a member of the newly established District 1 Youth Advisory Board, which is composed of young members of the Brentwood, Central Islip and North Bay Shore communities.
As he readied for college, Joshua chose to study Political Science at SUNY Albany, and plans to utilize his degree to help people of all backgrounds prosper against the odds that may be working against them.
At the young age of 19, Alberto Melgar has already established himself as a caring, civic minded individual. A recent graduate of Brentwood High School, as a student, Alberto found his passion for giving back to the community.
- a supply drive to assist those impacted by the Russian invasion of the Ukraine
- fundraised over $3,000 for the Brentwood Science Olympiads to ensure the program was not defunded due to budget cuts brought on by the pandemic
- donated over 1,500 blankets with positive messages attached to the Suffolk County office of Social Services to be distributed to local shelters as part of the “Blankets of Hope” initiative.
- As well, he impressively secured over 1,100 signatures from community members that he brought to the Town in hopes of progressing the Roberto Clemente Skate Park.
Most impressively, while dedicating much of his time to the community, Alberto maintained a part-time job, enroll in AP/Honor courses and was involved with several school clubs at Brentwood High School. This past June, he graduated in the top 10 of his class and received a full scholarship to attend NYU where he will study physics and mechanical engineering.