2008-09-24 / Seniors

Senior Spotlight

Maltese Secures Grant For Seniors' Multi Service Center

Responding to an emergency call for funds when a city grant was terminated, state Senator Serphin Maltese obtained a $65,000 state grant to continue vital services for seniors at the Queens Multi Service Center (QMSC).

"Without this funding, we would certainly have had to close our doors and thus render our senior citizens helpless in maintaining the quality of life benefits and entitlements they so richly deserve," QMSC Director Roseann Rosado declared.

On behalf of the center's members, who come from the Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village communities within Maltese's senate district, Rosado thanked the lawmaker for, "Once again rising to the occasion."

Maltese said the grant he secured would be used to help thousands of seniors who rely on the center's assistance and guidance in obtaining services through Medicare, Food Stamps, and other entitlement programs.

Rosado said several weeks ago, QMSC had been notified that the money it had been receiving from the city was being terminated. She did not explain why, but said without Maltese's emergency grant the center would have been forced to close.

Senator Maltese, fifth from left (rear), with staff and members of Queens Multi Service Center Senator Maltese, fifth from left (rear), with staff and members of Queens Multi Service Center Besides the emergency grant, Maltese had previously secured a $90,000 grant for transportation services and a Saturday "mini" senior center.

City Councilmember Anthony Como (R- C Middle Village) also got a $25,000 grant for the center, Rosado said.

Maltese said he often calls upon QMSC on behalf of constituents who come to his office when they needed someone to help them obtain services that would mean the difference between staying in their own home or being forced to move into a healthcare facility. He said the center has been in the community for more than 20 years.

LONGTIME BP AIDE DIES: Over the past 17 years, Kasum "Kasey" Duka, a Bayside resident and resourceful problem solver, responded to the needs of constituents, first of Borough President Claire Shulman and then her successor, Helen Marshall.

Sadly, Marshall reported last week, Duka, a World War II combat veteran who participated in the D-Day invasion, had died on September 15 after a long illness. He was 83.

Marshall paid tribute to the patient and efficient office of Constituent Affairs staffer who "fielded countless constituent complaints about everything from water bills, veterans' benefits and senior citizen medical bills to abandoned cars, blocked driveways and snow removal problems".

"Kasey was loved by so many of our constituents because he was relentless in his desire to solve their problems," Marshall said. She also recalled the frequent "thank you" notes and cookies, which were a wellearned commentary and show of appreciation, for Duka's ability to resolve all kinds of problems, she said.

"He would take on any complaint that came in and get it resolved," Marshall recalled. "He worked with many city agencies, but his specialty was shrinking water bills to manageable terms."

Shulman said Duka started his stint at Borough Hall in 1991. She remembered fondly, "Kasey was a natural in the Office of Constituent Affairs. There was nothing he couldn't do—especially for seniors—and they loved him. He was a unique, always optimistic individual who made the world a better place."

Duka is survived by his wife, Mary, two children, Patricia and Scott, and four grandchildren.

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