Dear Editor

September 5, 2012

Dear Editor:

The events of September 11, 2001 documented the reality of evil even while they brought out the best in our fellow Americans. One such American is Mr. John Sferazo.

A Huntington Station native, John was working as an iron worker on Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge when the first plane collided with the World Trade Center. As a Ground Zero volunteer, searching for survivors beneath the rubble, John suffered physical and psychological trauma. Today, his lungs straining under labored breaths, John Sferazo continues helping others.

His organization, American Greenlands Restoration Inc. (A.G.R.I.), has transformed a former asphalt plant in Maine into the top-rated habitat improvement project in the state: a lush forestland where first responders and military veterans can find a clean, quiet place to fish, hunt or merely enjoy the outdoors.

Johnís selfless work with A.G.R.I. has earned him a 2012 Heroes of Conservation award. With additional assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Services, the Pine Grove Project, and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, A.G.R.I. intends to build wetlands on its Maine property along with planting American elderberry, chestnut trees, apple trees and more.

In a time of great tragedy and hardship, John Sferazo demonstrated what it means to be an American. He has given his full measure to those who have suffered incalculable loss, and I am proud to call Mr. Sferazo my friend.

Andrew P. Raia
Member of Assembly