WRBA board welcomes new officers
by Ashley Helms
Dec 24, 2013 | 635 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pictured from left to right are Vice President Giedra Kregzdys, President Martin Colberg, and Treasurer Stephen Forte.
Pictured from left to right are Vice President Giedra Kregzdys, President Martin Colberg, and Treasurer Stephen Forte.
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Just hours after Hurricane Sandy passed over Woodhaven, Martin Colberg and other members of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association collected and bagged carefully organized clothing donations.

For the next two weeks, according to outgoing association President Ed Wendell, Colberg volunteered and delivered supplies every day to the Rockaways, an area that saw homes ripped from their foundations and cars floating out to sea.

"I've been doing it for four years and Martin is one of my favorites in the world," Wendell said. "Real good, dynamic thinking."

His dedication didn't go unnoticed; Colberg was elected as the 2014 president of the association on Dec. 16. He will be the first Latino president in the association's 42-year history. His term is set to begin on Jan. 1 when Wendell steps down.

Founded in 1972, the Woodhaven Residents Block Association was formed to encourage interest in civic and political affairs among residents. By advocating on behalf of Woodhaven, the association brings together residents and local political leaders to bring about improvements in the community.

Colberg, 38, works for Bloomberg News in Manhattan. He attended John Adams High School in Ozone Park and currently resides in Woodhaven. He has been on the board of directors for three years and joined the group after he attended a meeting and saw what a close-knit group the association was.

After Hurricane Sandy, Colberg said the association opened its office early in order to serve as a drop-off point for clothing and food. Even though Woodhaven wasn't hit overly hard by the storm, he said it was an intense experience; everyone was effected in one way or another.

"It was a great opportunity and very eye-opening to see so many people in our community helping out other people," Colberg said.

The association has about 100 members, according to Wendell, and membership comes with a $15 suggested donation. The board of directors elects each new member of the board for volunteer terms. A president serves one year terms for a maximum of four years. Also elected to the board of directors this year was Giedra Kregzdys as vice president and Stephen Forte as treasurer.

Wendell created a blog entitled Project Woodhaven in 2008 to have a place to vent about the area and get closer to his neighbors. The block association noticed his blog and invited Wendell to a meeting in 2009. Though he will still be involved in the association, Wendell said he felt like it was time for new leadership.

Going forward, Colberg said he plans to continue to keep the community as graffiti free as possible, work closely with the NYPD and continue the association's outreach. Colberg also plans to reach out to Woodhaven's younger residents and get them excited about volunteering in the community.

"We're making sure everyone is on the same page and to try to keep [Woodhaven] as nice and safe as possible," Colberg said.

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