That was in 1971. Fast forward a few decades, and 92-year-old Dietrich is still invested in the community, particularly Richmond Hill, the neighborhood where he was born and raised.
“We don’t have anybody left around the area now,” he said, referring to the civic association. But he is still around and going strong.
He sits on Community Board 9, which covers Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Woodhaven and Ozone Park. And he has been there for the past 40 years.
Dietrich has been on the board for so long that in June, Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall along with Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, awarded him with a plaque for his years of service.
Marshall presented the award to him on June 14, at the yearly swearing-in ceremony where she appoints new board members and reappoints veteran members. Dietrich is part of the 281 veteran members who were reappointed in June.
Dietrich has lived on 134th Street and 89th Avenue all of his life, not too far away from Jamaica Hospital. He recalled when Jamaica Avenue had trolley cars running along it.
And he also had another reason to celebrate in June. For 66 years, he has been married to his wife, Charlotte. They met in Richmond Hill, even though she was from Queens Village.
Together, they had five kids – all girls. Dietrich is also a grandfather of six grandchildren.
He feels honored to have been awarded and he admitted that being on the board for so long has sometimes made him want to quit.
But the CB 9 board members told him that he couldn’t.
“It’s something to do, I’m only 92, I’ll be 93 in September,” he said, adding that in fact, he will not be quitting soon.