At right, left to right: New York Raptors coaches Joe Ruggiero, Liz Truly, Steve Grossman, Greg Glander and Mike Papa.
“The Rosemarie Siragusa Award recognizes dedicated residents who give back to our youth in the true spirit of community service,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “The coaches of the New York Raptors embody the spirit of this award by giving so generously of their time and energy on behalf of our youth with disabilities.”
Started in 1996, the New York Raptors have been coached for more than 10 years by Liz Truly, along with assistant coaches Joe Ruggiero, Steve Grossman, Greg Glander and Mike Papa. All are volunteers and recipients of the award.
“We are deeply honored to be recognized for something we all do out of love for the players and the sport,” said Truly. “No matter what their ability, everyone on the Raptors contributes to playing good hockey and having a great time. We also emphasize what it means to be part of a team, and we encourage enthusiasm and dedication for all players and their families.”
The Raptors, which consists of more than 30 players, skates weekly at the Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford in the fall and winter. As a not-for-profit, the team relies on fundraising to help with equipment costs, ice time, travel expenses for tournaments, and scholarship programs.
The Raptors team is part of the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA), which was created in 2000. Today there are more than 50 ASHA programs across 30 cities nationwide. To learn more about the Raptors, please visit www.nyraptors.org.
Each year, the Rosemarie Siragusa Award is presented in memory of the founder and chairwoman of the Westchester County Youth Board. For over 25 years, Siragusa volunteered as an advocate for youth, particularly in the area of education. She was involved in the local, county and state levels of the PTA, and served as president of the Yonkers Council of PTAs. Siragusa also served on the Yonkers Board of Education.
“The coaches of the New York Raptors encourage people with special needs to pursue their dreams and teach them that they can conquer anything,” said Iris Pagan, executive director, Westchester County Youth Bureau. “The Youth Bureau is pleased to recognize these volunteers for all they do to empower our youth.”