Randi Garay is our Parent of the Year

Randi Garay, this year’s Bensonhurst West End Civic Association’s Parent of the Year, was born to Ilene and Ned Kuskin, lived on Bay Parkway with her sisters until they moved to Harway Terrace where her grandparents Sylvia and Harold Feinberg lived.

She received a public school education at PS 128, Seth Low Intermediate School, and Dewey HS. She met her husband, Eddie Garay, 16 years ago, when she was working for Allstate Insurance, and later moved into an apartment at Harway Terrace. They have two children: son Eddie Jr., 11, and baby daughter Skye, who is 14 months.

Randi Garay is a composite of her two sisters, Erica and Robyn, her mother Ilene and her grandmother Sylvia — all dedicated, hard-working, tenacious women with incredibly close family ties. Her son Eddie Jr. has been brought up by all of them.

When the treacherous 9-11 attacks took her uncle, Firefighter Alan Feinberg, the tragedy devastated the family — as it did all the 3,000 families that lost loved ones. But in Randi and her family’s case, the tragedy made their bond even stronger, as they took up the cause of makingGround Zero a holy ground.

Unfortunately, the family never received closure on their lost hero.

Randi made sure to take her son Eddie to all the local memorials to the 9-11 victims, as well as to Ground Zero. Eddie lost his great uncle, his grandma’s brother, his great grandma’s only son, and he will never forget him.

Randi was quick to volunteer in setting up the 9-11 Memorial Flagpole at Harway Terrace Co-op after 9-11. She again volunteered her services to get Bay 50th Street renamed Alan Feinberg Way. This seed of activism followed her to PS 212 when Eddie Jr. started Pre-K in 2004 and onto the Kindergarten Sigma Program. Randi joined the PTA volunteering to sell ice cream to bolster school funds.

Randi gladly shops for some of her elderly neighbors, and Randi is always willing to lend a helping hand.

As president of PS 212’s PTA, Randi is on the school leadership team, she attends the Community Education Council 21’s monthly meetings, and is a member of President’s Council and also attends the Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s Open Monthly meetings. Randi was able to attend more meetings after the council changed its meeting place to the Harway Terrace Community Room, because of lack of parking spots at our former location, the aforementioned Seth Low Intermediate School.

Randi and the Harway-PTA mothers set up scary Halloween displays outside and going into her apartment. They were so good and so much fun that she, along with the other mothers, asked the Harway Terrace Board of Directors for permission to hold various holiday parties in the community room. The first holiday party was an unqualified success and drew 40 happy children, much to the delight of their parents and grandparents watching. “And a child shall lead them” was very apropos here, because the kids party really brought together the various ethnic groups that comprise the 360-family Harway Terrace Co-op.

Whether it was to set up a coalition, distribute meeting flyers, cooperate in any task, and attend community rallies, Randi never refused. I personally nominated her for the award, stating, “In Randi we find the typical hard-working PTA mom, who not only devotes herself to the 24-hour task of raising her family, but gives much of her valuable time keeping the school and its PTA viable. Just to follow Randi in her extraordinary schedule is tiring, but aside from her 1-year-old daughter, Skye, forever on her hips and answering Eddie Jr.’s constant inquisitive questions, she always willing to help those who depend on her. She truly deserves to receive our coveted Parent of the Year Cesaria Soccoa Award!”

Screech at you next week!

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