Ellen Basile became involved with Nor-West in 1976. Born in the Bronx, Ellen moved to northern Westchester County in 1972 with her two brothers and sister. Over the years, Ellen attended a variety of schools including the Kennedy Child Study Center and the Walden School, where she graduated in 1985. Currently, Ellen works at WARC in Mt. Kisco, where she enjoys her office job.
Ellen really enjoys the Nor-West programs. Her early program memories include the drama program and having tons of fun at the Nor-West day camps, swimming and participating in arts and crafts. Ellen was also very involved in our Special Olympics programs, back in the day when we offered Gymnastics training. When asked why she has attended Nor-West programs for so long, Ellen states " I have made many friends over the years…I love bowling and the day trips, everything is so much fun!". We asked Ellen if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Ellen responded "Zac Zefron". When asked what her dream job would be if she could choose one, Ellen responded "Office Worker". Well, Ellen, you’re doing exactly what you love, so you are very lucky indeed. Welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame.
Rosanne began attending Nor-West programs in October 1983. Rosanne (her friends call her Rosie) was born in the Bronx and moved to northern Westchester in 1980 where she was raised with her brother Charles (who also briefly attended Nor-West) and sister Robin. Rosanne attended several schools including Van Cortlandt Elementary, CopperBeachMiddle School, and graduated from LakelandHigh School. Rosie has many fond memories of her experiences with Nor-West. She recalls that most of her friendships were forged at the agency’s programs. When asked why she has attended Nor-West programs for so long, Rosie states “I like it”. If she could have lunch with any celebrity, Rosie would select Lady Gaga. Rosie would also choose singing as her dream job. A great choice! Rosie lives with her peers in a group residence in Cortlandt. At home, Rosie enjoys playing bingo with her house-mates and listening to music. She also enjoys assisting with the dinner clean-up. Rosie was the lucky recipient of the prestigious Cathy Morris award at the 1998 Luis Herzog Memorial Tournament. Rosie, you certainly deserved it! Welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame
Howard Bloom is an ORIGINAL Nor-West participant. Howard was born in 1949 in the Bronx, and grew up on Rochambeau Avenue. He attended various schools in the Bronx including PS 80, PS 95, PS 46, and graduated from DeWittClintonHigh School. In 1963 Howard moved to Peekskill, and he became involved with Nor-West in 1973. Howard has a brother in Spring Valley and a niece living in Long Island. Howard works at the Ann Mondoni Middle School in Ossining, where he assists in the dining room and kitchen with lunch preparation. Howard enjoys his job and is a very conscientious worker. When he is not working, Howard has a variety of pastimes that keep him busy. First and foremost, Howard is an active participant in many Nor-West activities. In fact, Howard earned his nickname, “Downtown”, from his uncanny ability to sink long shots for the Nor-West Special Olympic basketball team. Howard is also the Nor-West goalie in floor hockey, which happens to be his favorite sport to play and to watch. Howard is a NY Rangers and Knicks fan. Howard frequents Madison Square Garden, often taking the train down to Manhattan on weekends. Another interesting hobby of Howard’s is his extensive autograph collection of local celebrities and radio personalities. I asked Howard what he would do if he suddenly won a million dollars. Howard stated he would buy a computer and printer, travel to California to watch the Jay Leno show taping, and visit Canada. When asked what he is most proud of, Howard states the things he’s accomplished at Nor-West. He states “Nor-West is a lot of fun. I’ve been coming so long because I enjoy the activities, and there is a lot of dignity there for me from the staff”.Welcome to the Hall of Fame Howard!
Eugene Blumer began his participation with Nor-West in January 1979. Eugene was born and raised right here in Cortlandt Manor, NY. Eugene attended various schools in the area, and graduated from Northern Westchester BOCES. Eugene’s current employment is working as a stockperson at the A&P in Bedford.
Over the years, Eugene has enjoyed a variety of Nor-West programs. Some of Eugene’s earliest memories of our programs was in Special Olympics basketball and floor hockey. Of course, Eugene’s passion is his bowling, and he has been bowling with Nor-West for nearly thirty years! Eugene has a number of high games under his belt, and was the 2006 recipient of the Luis Herzog Memorial Trophy. When asked why he has attended Nor-West programs for so long, Eugene responded "I like participating and having a good time with my friends. I really like the different things I get to do at Nor-West". We asked Eugene two hypothetical fun questions to get to know him just a little better: If he could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would he choose? Eugene replied "Sean Michaels, a professional wrestler". If Eugene could choose any job in the world, what would he select? "A store manager of the A&P". Keep up the good work, Eugene, and welcome to the Hall of Fame.
Christopher Cordts was born in Mt.Kisco and raised in Montrose. He attended several schools including BOCES, United Cerebral Palsy, and St. Agnes. Chris began attending Nor-West programs in October 1978. Chris has many early memories of attending Nor-West programs. He recalls participating in arts & crafts at Frank G. Lindsey school, swimming at PineLake pool, and the weekend cabin outings at Blue Mountain Reservation. Several years ago, Chris moved into a house in Ossining with two friends, where he enjoys a great deal of independence.Chris really enjoys listening to music and often has his earphones on. He has an extensive collection of tapes and CD’s in his room. Chris is typically a happy-go-lucky guy who enjoys his life. When asked why he has attended so consistently for so long, Chris replies simply “I like the programs”. For his celebrity lunch, Chris would invite Alex Trebek from Jeopardy. If he could have any job in the world, Chris would like a maintenance job, because “I’m good at it”. Chris currently works at the KeonCenter, and during the warmer months he can be seen with his road crew in the Cortlandt area. Chris, welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame!
Judy Ehrenpreis began attending Nor-West programs in November 1975. Judy was born in New York City, and moved to northern Westchester County in 1963. Judy has two sisters and one brother. Judy attended and graduated from northern Westchester BOCES. Currently, Judy works at the Keon Center as well as in Croton Point Park in the summer.
Judy truly loves the Nor-West programs. Judy shared some early memories of Nor-West programs, including going on many trips with Ricki Darmann. Judy loves the trips, shows, picnics, events, and of course, bowling. We asked Judy if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Judy responded "Donny Osmond". If she could have any job in the world, Judy would become a Doctor. We hope you attend our programs for many years to come Judy. Welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame.
Susan Eible is an ORIGINAL Nor-West participant, enrolling in the program in October 1973! Suzie, as we fondly call her, was born and raised in Peekskill, NY, which explains why she became involved so early (Nor-West’s original office location was in Peekskill). Suzie is employed at the Keon Center in Peekskill.
Over the years, Suzie has attended hundreds of Nor-West programs. Suzie’s early memories of Nor-West include the pottery classes. She has attended for so many years because she really enjoys the programs and trips. We asked Suzie if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Suzie responded "John Travolta". If she could have any job in the world, Suzie would work in an office or at McDonald’s. We hope you attend our programs for many years to come Suzie. Welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame.
Cynthia Evans began her participation with Nor-West in October 1975. We were surprised to learn that Cynthia was born in Oakland, California, and moved to northern Westchester in 1966. Cynthia attended several schools in the area including Northern Westchester BOCES from which she graduated. Cynthia has had a number of jobs over the years. Most recently, she works at the Munzi Center in Mt. Kisco doing various clerical and assembly tasks.
Cynthia absolutely loves all the Nor-West programs. When asked why she has attended for so long, Cynthia states "I love being with my friends and having fun, especially at bowling and at dinner clubs". We asked Cynthia if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Cynthia responded "Will Smith". When asked if she could have any job in the world, Cynthia responded "Working in a car wash in California". Welcome to the Hall of Fame Cynthia!
Jennifer Feldman began her participation with Nor-West in 1980. Jennifer was born in West Suffolk, England, and moved to northern Westchester County in 1971. Jen attended the Walden School and graduated in 1985. Over the years, Jen has had a variety of jobs, and currently works at the Keon Center.
Jennifer has attended hundreds of Nor-West programs over the years, including dozens of Special Olympic events. Jen is very proud of the fact that she was selected twice as the Most Valuable Player in the Hockey Tournaments of 1998 and 2002. Jennifer thoroughly enjoys the Nor-West programs, which is why she has been steadily attending for nearly 30 years. We asked Jen if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Jennifer responded "The Pussycat Girls". If she could have any job in the world, Jennifer stated that she would like to work for Nor-West! Now that’s dedication to an agency! Congratulations, Jen on your induction to the Nor-West Hall of Fame.
Lisa Forbes began attending Nor-West programs in November 1975. Lisa was born in New York City and moved to Northern Westchester in 1967 with her two brothers and sister. Lisa attended and graduated from northern Westchester BOCES. Currently, Lisa works at the Keon Center as well as in Croton Point Park in the summer.
Over the years, Lisa has attended hundreds of Nor-West programs. Some of her earliest memories of the programs include going on trips to Playland with Eugene Blummer, another long-time Nor-West participant and Hall of Fame member. When we asked Lisa why she has attended Nor-West for so many years, Lisa responds "I like going to all the places…nice people work at Nor-West, and I get to be with my friends". We asked Lisa which celebrity she would like to have lunch with, and Lisa responded "Marie Osmond". If Lisa could have any job in the world, she would like to be a nurse. Well, Lisa, you and your sister would make a great medical team! Congratulations, and welcome to the Hall of Fame.
Seth began attending Nor-West programs in October 1982. Seth was born and raised in Yorktown with his sister Penny, who briefly worked at Nor-West. Seth attended several schools including Blythdale, Van Cortlandt Elementary, Westchester Exceptional Children, and graduated from YorktownHigh School.
When new staff begin work at Nor-West, Seth is among the first to make a lasting impression on them. Staff tend to gravitate to Seth, undoubtedly due to his demeanor and exuberance. Seth has so many wonderful memories about his experiences at Nor-West. As a youngster, Seth remembers participating in a Special Olympics Poly-hockey state tournament at the Nevelle Hotel. “I was the smallest member of the team” he recalls. One of Seth’s fondest memories was winning the prestigious Luis Herzog Memorial Bowling Trophy in May 1996. When asked why he has attended Nor-West programs for so long, Seth states “I have made many good friends and I enjoy playing all the Special Olympic sports”. Seth is a huge Disney fan and would love to have lunch with Mickey himself. If Seth could have any job in the world, Seth states that he would love to be the Balloon Man at Disneyworld. An excellent choice Seth! Welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame.
Fred Johnson began his participation with Nor-West in October 1979. Fred was born in North Tarrytown, NY (Sleepy Hollow) but moved to Ossining when he was a young boy. Fred has an older sister Kristen, a younger brother Frank and sister Penny. Freddie, as we fondly call him, attended and graduated from Northern Westchester BOCES. Freddie worked at the Veteran’s Hospital for six years. His current employment is with the Keon Center in Buchanan, and a part-time position with New York State performing maintenance in the parks. At home, Freddie is known as "The Mayor of Ferris Place", as he knows everyone on the block. At times, neighbors will stop by in their car on the way to work, when they see him out front waiting for the bus. They often chat about how the Mets performed the day before.
Freddie thoroughly enjoys all the Nor-West programs he attends, and is always anxious to learn what trips are being planned for next season. Freddie was a very young boy when he began attending Nor-West. When asked why he has attended Nor-West programs for nearly 30 years, Freddie replied "I love to be with my friends in sports and activities". We asked Freddie two hypothetical fun questions: If he could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would he choose? Freddie replied "Mike Piazza, the ex-Mets catcher". If Freddie could choose any job in the world, what would he select? "A NY Mets baseball player". Let’s Go Mets, Freddie, and welcome to the Hall of Fame.
Tommy Johnston became involved with Nor-West in 1978. Tommy is a Peekskill native, and grew up in town with his parents and two brothers. Tommy attended Northern Westchester BOCES. Tommy has worked for the KeonCenter for over 30 years!
Tommy has always enjoyed attending the Nor-West programs for the social and recreational aspects. Tommy’s early memories of Nor-West include various Special Olympic events and shooting free throws, for which he had a special talent. When asked if he could have lunch with any celebrity, Tommy replied “Mickey Mouse, of course!” Tommy has had a lifelong love of Disney and Mickey. Tommy loves his job at Keon, and says that if he could pick any profession, he would choose the work he performs at the KeonCenter. Now THAT’S a dedicated employee! Great job Tommy, and welcome to the Nor-West Hall of Fame!
Dennis Keon is an original Nor-West participant, beginning programs in October 1973. Born and raised in Verplanck (“The Point”), Dennis was one of ten children of Margaret & Edward Keon. Dennis was born in the late 1940’s, a time when the mentally retarded were considered an embarrassment to society. During those “dark ages” it was common for a developmentally disabled baby to be whisked away to an institution.
Thankfully, the Keons had a different philosophy and agenda. They created a warm, nurturing environment for Dennis at home. Since there were no educational programs available, they set out to create a school for their son. Banding together with three other families in the area, they rented a room in Peekskill and hired a teacher.In cooperation with a local church, they held weekly 50/50 raffles to pay the teacher’s salary and facility rent. From these humble beginnings, the Community Aid for Retarded Children was formed.The group continued to expand, and eventually needed a larger space. Mr. Keon was instrumental in obtaining donations of labor and materials from various local unions and building suppliers to construct a building in Montrose. The organization continued to grow and expand, and was eventually renamed the Keon Center in honor of Mr. Keon’s foresight, dedication and tireless efforts.
Dennis has been a fixture in Verplanck his entire life. Everyone knows Dennis; he is the proverbial “mayor” of the Point. In many ways, the community assisted the Keons in raising and nuturing Dennis. Over the years, Dennis has marched in dozens of Firemen’s Parades. Dennis is very proud of his accomplishments at Nor-West. For many years he was an integral part of our Special Olympics teams, and represented Nor-West in various regional and state events. Dennis still regularly participates in the Nor-West bowling program, as well as many special events. Truly a wonderful life and a wonderful guy! Congratulations Dennis and Welcome to the Hall of Fame!
Cheryl Lennon began her participation with Nor-West in November 1976. Cheryl was born in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She moved to northern Westchester in 1973, and has lived in Peekskill with her family since that time. Cheryl attended several schools, including Northern Westchester BOCES, which she graduated from in the early 1980’s.
Presently, Cheryl attends the ARC day habilitation program in Peekskill, where she does a variety of tasks. When asked about early memories of Nor-West programs, Cheryl recalls our swimming programs, day trips, and the annual Luis Herzog Memorial Bowling Tournaments. Cheryl is among the happiest participants at Nor-West. She seems to enjoy all the programs she attends, and she has developed many friendships over the years. When we asked Cheryl the reasons she has attended Nor-West programs for over thirty years, Cheryl replied "Great staff, great friends, and a lot of programs that I like". We asked Cheryl two hypothetical fun questions: If she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Cheryl replied "Frank Gifford, the sportscaster". If Cheryl could choose any job in the world, what would she select? Cheryl responded "I would love to work as a news broadcaster at NBC". Cheryl, we’d love to tune in to see you in action. Welcome to the Hall of Fame!
Lisa Robertine began her participation with Nor-West in June 1976. Lisa was born in Tarrytown, NY and moved to northern Westchester in 1966. Lisa attended several schools including the Keon School, Fox Meadow, and Northern Westchester BOCES, from which she graduated. Lisa’s current employment is at the Keon Rehabilitation Center, where she does several jobs including working in FDR Park in the summer.
Lisa has attended hundreds of Nor-West programs over the years. In fact, we have some old slides Lisa’s early memories of Nor-West programs include the summer swimming programs and camps. Lisa states "I loved to meet new staff and new friends at Nor-West, and having something to look forward to every day". Lisa has attended Nor-West for so many years because she loved our programs and the folks that attend them. Lisa was the 1993 recipient of the Luis Herzog Memorial Trophy. We asked Lisa if she could have lunch with any celebrity, living or dead, whom would she choose? Lisa responded "Without a doubt, Michael Jackson". When asked if she could have any job in the world, what would she choose? "I don’t think I would change a thing…I love what I do" was Lisa’s response. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Lisa!