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Honoring a 'community man'

Bryan Lanzello is the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Herald's Person of the Year

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With local businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bryan Lanzello sprang into action, using social media to create raffles to help support them.

    “I don’t know where he gets his drive from. I really do commend him for it,” his wife, Lisa, said. “He doesn’t settle for anything less than the best that he could do.”

     Long a community advocate, Lanzello raised money by hosting raffles on Facebook, charging a $10 participation fee and using the proceeds to purchase gift cards from Lynbrook businesses to raffle off on social media live streams.   Lanzello, of East Rockaway, understands the challenges that small businesses face, having run his own, Lanzello Roofing and Remodeling, in Hewlett, since 2007.

   For his dedication and involvement in his community, Lanzello, 40, is the  Herald’s 2020 Person of the Year.

   He grew up in Valley Stream and moved with his family to  Lynbrook in 2006. Then he and Lisa purchased a home in East Rockaway three years ago. They have four children, Damon, Arianna, Mason and Gavin, who attend Lynbrook Public Schools. Lisa recalled that she met her future husband in 2001, when she worked at a tile store and he came in to purchase materials. They married in 2005.

   Over the years, Lanzello has been involved with a number of local groups, including as president of the Titans Football program since 2015, the Lynbrook Little League, Lynbrook Roller Hockey and Valley Stream Youth Council. He also volunteered at Our Lady of Peace church, hosting and sponsoring fundraisers, including the church’s largest event, its annual dinner dance, as well as its Casino Night, Ladies Gala and others. Additionally, he has hosted Lynbrook village events, such as the roast of Mayor Alan Beach in January and a carnival in June 2019. He also created an Info at Lynbrook Facebook page to keep the community aware of local happenings.

    Justin Barkley, a Titans board member and coach, said the program was struggling before Lanzello became president, and his efforts led to its recovery, including setting a record for memberships this year, with 130 football players and cheerleaders. Though the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic, Barkley said, the program’s future appears bright with Lanzello at the helm. 

“Under Bryan’s leadership, the Titans have really become a centerpiece for the neighborhood,” Barkley said. “The overall objective has been to really bring the community together as part of one big family.”

Lisa said that her husband joined the Titans’ leadership team because he wanted to help organize fundraisers to ensure the program survived for their children and so many others in the neighborhood. When he first came on board, participants were supposed to receive trophies, backpacks and journals at the end of the season, but the league ran out of money, so Lanzello donated funds to ensure that children received them. He then joined the board to help improve the league, eventually becoming president.

      Tara Aragona said she met the Lanzellos when they began volunteering together in the Lynbrook Public Schools and at other fundraisers. Her daughter, Sadie, is also a cheerleader for the Titans program.

“Bryan is a community man, and he’s very big on making all the Titans feel like one big family,” Aragona said. “He’s super-successful at coming up with great, fantastic, grand ideas to try and raise money for the Titans, and he gets everybody involved, and I think that’s what the kids like most about it.”

     Lanzello’s passion for helping his community is also evident in his business, said Jim O’Connell, who first met Lanzello when he hired him to remodel his home 13 years ago. He has since brought him back for a few projects over the years, before he started working at Lanzello’s business a year ago. Lanzello, he said, is driven by his love for his family, his dedication to unifying the community and his desire to ensure that his small business and others thrive.

      “I think part of it is he’s able to put himself in the position of what other small businesses are going through, their struggles and their desire to serve customers,” O’Connell said. “I think he does it very well, and it has served him well in capacities other than being a business owner.”

    Lanzello Roofing and Remodeling opened for business 13 years ago. The company remodels bathrooms, decks, rails, interiors and kitchens, installs dormers and extensions, and oversees masonry, roofing and siding work. 

      Lanzello has been recognized for his dedication to local communities several times over the years. The Valley Stream Youth Council honored him as Youth Council Advocate of the Year in 2013, Lynbrook village officials named Lanzello Remodeling Business of the Year in 2017, and the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce named him Businessman of the Year in 2019 — the same year that the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce named him Lynbrook’s Businessman of the Year.

     Lisa said she is impressed by what her husband has accomplished, noting that he is a positive role model for their children, while also being there for people in the local community.

      “There really is so much that he just dips his hands into,” she said. “Anywhere he’s needed, he’s willing.”