Mangano honors Lenny Mitchko’s memory

Mangano honors Lenny Mitchko’s memory

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano presented an award to the family of Williston Park resident Lenny Mitchko at a special event on May 29 at the Coral House in Baldwin.  

Mitchko was honored for his selfless devotion to community involvement that brought comfort to so many children and families at the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center, according to a statement released by Mangano.  The Nassau County Office for the Aging had more than 300 senior citizens attend this event, which celebrates May as Older Americans Month.

Mitchko volunteered at Cohen’s Children Hospital at North Shore-LIJ Health Systems.  Disabled by painful injuries and wheelchair bound, he decided to help younger children manage their fears about being in a hospital.  

Sitting in his motorized scooter, Mitchko became a beloved fixture in the hospital, while he distributed paperback books and small toys to children as they entered the building.  He was referred to as “Dr. Buddy Bear.”  He was constantly “on call” to provide bear hugs to children, their parents, and even some doctors who enjoyed his company.  

When asked about his mission, Mitchko told Cohen’s Children Hospital “Being with the children has given me new life.  My pain is nothing compared to theirs.  When I see these kids smiling, I’m a happy man.”

Mitchko died Feb. 9.  Present at this event were Mitchko’s wife, Virginia Mitchko, daughter, Alison Mitchko, and Denise Romero, director of Volunteer Services for LIJ Medical Center. 

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