Tuesday’s Children, a Manhasset-based nonprofit formed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, held its annual Plandome Benefit at the Plandome Country Club Tuesday night to honor medical officers Navin and Sylvia Arora and the Plandome Fire Department, which is currently in its 110th year of operation.
“Tuesday’s Children is all about making connections,” said Chairman John Cahalane. “Connections that bring hope and assurance that no one should walk alone on the path to healing and resilience.”
The evening started with a welcome and blessing from Rev. Kevin Smith, chaplain for the fire department and national anthem from Carys Hyland, a junior at Manhasset High School and probationary member for the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department Co. 1.
In comments to those in attendance, Navin Arora spoke on the phenomenal depth and profound impact Tuesday’s Children has on all levels of society.
“This is an organization you should be spending time with and makes a difference in what’s important in society, which is our children,” Arora said.
Arora, a native New Yorker that moved to Manhasset with his wife seven years ago, spoke previously with Blank Slate Media on what it means to his family to be honored Tuesday night.
“Service is selfless and it’s important for self-growth,” Arora said. “Our freedoms are not given to us but they’re earned by our predecessors and I think remembering that and realizing everyone has a role to play and can play a role at a variety of levels is really what’s important for us and the future generations.”
Arora is the founder of Borealis Dermatology with offices in Garden City and Syosset. He served as an Army physician for 12 years and has professional experience at both clinical and leadership levels with the Department of Defense and the private sector. He and his wife are both members of the American Legion Post 304 in Manhasset.
Arora shared part of his service background from joining the Army on June 3, 2001, as a second-year medical student to hearing of the Sept. 11 attacks on the radio and later being deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was stationed with Sylvia.
“I bring this up to show a reflection of the impact that this event tonight has beyond the immediate impact it has on children,” Arora said. “It’s changed us as people and tonight helps spread the word on how these conflicts affect people and not just in a primary, secondary or tertiary way that still affects children.”
Sylvia served in the U.S. Navy for four years before transferring to the Army after getting married. She graduated from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the only military medical school in the country, before completing her pediatric residency at Walter Reed Medical Center. She previously worked at Manhasset Pediatrics before stepping away for her children and currently works for a nonprofit that supports the state Department of Health’s Office of School Health.
Sylvia spoke of what she called her first experience of terror as an eighth grader in Los Angeles during the L.A. Riots in 1992. She recalled the thankfulness she had for the National Guard members that made her feel safe.
“I remember in that moment thinking when my parents left the house I would never see them again and that still impacts me today in how I take care of my patients,” Arora said. “Seeing the National Guard and what they did for us was my first exposure to how thankful I was to this country for making me feel safe again.”
Chief Sean Byrne accepted the honor on behalf of the fire department, reiterating the volunteers’ mission has remained the same over a century later.
“Although much has changed in the community over the last 110 years, the primary purpose of the fire department was and always will be to protect the lives and property of the residents and our neighboring communities,” Byrne said. “That has not changed and continues to be our main purpose.”
The organization has approximately 90 members, Byrne said, and has a juniors program for teens aged 14 to 17 that are interested in joining the fire service.
“The primary reason our members join is for civic duty,” Byrne said. “Similar to when I joined 20 years ago on the invitation of my neighbors, it’s a commitment to help my neighbors and protect their families, as they would mine.”