BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The Long Island City Partnership hosted its 30th annual awards gala, with nearly 350 business, technology, real estate and civic leaders and elected officials in attendance.
This year’s gala honored Boyce Technologies with the Business Award for its innovative equipment and dedication to the Long Island City community and Hour Children with the Community Service Award for its dedication to ensuring that formerly incarcerated women are given another chance to rebuild their lives.
Hour Children was founded 30 years ago by Sister Tesa Fitzgerald to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children to rejoin their communities, reunify with their families and build healthy and independent lives.
Johanna Flores, coordinator for Hour Working Women Reentry Program, accepted the William D. Modell Community Service Award on behalf of Fitzgerald and shared a testimonial.
Flores was released from prison 14 years ago on work release, and was provided only 16 weeks to find work—or else she’d be taken back to prison. After three weeks of being denied by prospective employers due to her background, Fitzgerald opened her doors and gave Flores a job. During her time in prison, Flores had left behind her 4-year-old son, who had been living with her parents since he was an infant and didn’t know his mother. When she first brought her son to live with her in Queens, he was unfamiliar with New York and spoke only Spanish. However, Flores said that after years of depression, he underwent therapy at Hour Children and became healthier. Today, he is a senior in high school, hving been an honor roll student since sixth grade.
“For women who come to Hour Children, they come because they are determined to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment, and 90 percent are successful,” said Flores. “They only need a chance. I don’t know what I would’ve done without Hour Children and their volunteers, who care enough to help. I’m only one of so many success stories at Hour Children.”
Boyce Technologies—which for years had designed and manufactured security and communications equipment for the mass-transit market, including emergency-response systems, intercom systems, security alarm systems, radio and wireless networks, and customer information display systems—was represented by its president, Charles Boyce.
“What Charles and Tom [Boyce] and their whole team are doing really exemplifies why Long Island City is the only place and the best place for advanced manufacturing in the United States of America,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership.
Boyce said that his company has built equipment that makes New York a safer place. He also gave the Queens Tribune insight into what the community can expect in the near future.
“Boyce Technologies is going to undergo a major expansion physically, with maybe 100,000 more feet of manufacturing, which is going to bring more jobs,” said Boyce. “The community is going to be able to see the renaissance of bringing manufacturing back to Long Island City. We do it in a way that’s high tech. We don’t hoard trucks here; we don’t store equipment here. We build technology here—and I think that’s what Long Island City started as and I think it’s time to return.”
The gala included cocktails and foods from Long Island City companies Neuman’s Kitchen, Big Alice Brewery, Doughnut Plant, John Brown Smokehouse, Lady M, Melrose Ballroom, Murray’s Cheese, Sugar Cube, The Baroness/The Dutchess and White Coffee.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.