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The original item was published from 5/4/2019 11:33:52 AM to 4/17/2020 12:00:00 AM.

News Flash

County Executive

Posted on: April 16, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Nassau County to Host Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged


ROOSEVELT – Standing with community leaders and event sponsors at The Children's Learning Center in Roosevelt, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today announced that the 2019 Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged will take place in Nassau County for its 35th anniversary competition.

Over 1,100 children will gather at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, where physically challenged youth will be given the exciting opportunity to participate in competitive sports and recreational activities adapted to best suit their unique abilities.

Athletes, whose physical challenges include amputee, blind or visually impaired, cerebral palsy, deaf or hearing impaired, spinal cord injured and Les Autres, from across New York State travel to Nassau County for a weekend of fun, friends, and reaching the finish line.

The focus this year is on the 35th Anniversary of the Games and what an accomplishment that has been – it is the longest running program of its kind. Nassau County saved the Games in 2011 when New York State cut funding and eliminated all Empire State Games programs from the budget. Since then, the event has been put on through the help of private and community support.

For more information, please visit Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged website at


“Nassau County is proud to be hosting the 35th annual Games for the Physically Challenged, a community-powered event that celebrates athletes of all abilities,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “I’m grateful as always to our sponsors for helping us keep this meaningful event alive and successful.”

Dr. Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University, which provides housing for athletes and staff said: “Each year, our campus is thrilled to welcome back the competitors who participate in the Empire State Games. Their spirit, enthusiasm, and drive inspires us all, and encouraging these athletes and celebrating their achievements is a great Nassau County tradition. Hofstra University is proud to partner with the County and the other sponsors to ensure the Games’ continued success.”

Dr. Hubert Keen, President of Nassau Community College, which provides facilities for wheelchair basketball, swimming, table tennis and the athlete’s banquet said: “Nassau Community College is again honored to be the proud host venue for the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The participants in these games are the best exemplars of the transcendence of the human spirit. We are grateful for their participation and inspired by their commitment to excellence.”

Martin Elias of the Ike, Molly And Steven Elias Foundation & Elias Properties (Silver Medal $20,000 Sponsor) said: “Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties are proud to be a long time sponsor of the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. It is so gratifying to see how enthused and excited all the athletes are each year as participants in these games. The games truly make a significant difference in their lives and we are very happy to help support the 2019 Games.”

Andy Healey, President, Dermot Kelly of The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Long Island (Bronze Medal $10,000 sponsor) said: “The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Long Island are honored to continue our support of the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. On Monday, April 29th The Friendly Sons will host a fundraiser “Taste the Flavors of the Emerald Isle” to benefit the Games. We look forward to seeing all of these great athletes compete at the 2019 Games. I can’t wait to see the torch lit and Games begin!”

Rick Hoagland, Senior VP at GEICO (Bronze Medal $10,000 Swimming Event Sponsor) said: "We’re eager to sponsor the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged again for 2019," said Rick Hoagland, GEICO senior vice president. "The athletes who participate in the games build lifelong memories throughout the weekend, and their stories continue to inspire our GEICO associates as well as local Long Islanders."


Jack Khzouz, CEO of NICE Bus ($5000 Opening Ceremonies Sponsor and Athlete Shuttle Sponsor) said: "The entire NICE Bus Team is so proud and honored to be part of this event for the 8th straight year. Along with our yearly corporate cash contribution, NICE employees have contributed thousands of hours of their time over the years to ensure the Athletes get to and from the events safety.”

Vincent Russo, Co-Founder of Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation ($5000 Wheelchair Basketball Sponsor) said: “The Theresa Foundation is proud to sponsor the Nassau County Victory Challenge. The Foundation honors the memory of Theresa Alessandra Russo by touching the lives of children with special needs and their families. The Foundation fosters each child’s unique abilities by supporting programs focusing on art, music, dance and recreation. We hope that the Victory Challenge will create greater awareness of the ability of physically challenged individuals and remove the stigma that existed when our daughter, Theresa was born in the 1980s. We would like to wish all of the athletes’ the best of luck in their competitions.”


Jim Macri, Board Member and Buket Macri at The Dee Foundation ($5000 Track & Field Sponsor) said: “The Dee Foundation is very proud to sponsor the games again this year. Our sister truly enjoyed all aspects of this wonderful event. The games are not just for the athletes, but for all the people who surround them,” said Jim Macri, Board Member of the Dee Foundation. “It gives families and friends an opportunity to celebrate the challenges and triumphs of all the competitors.”

John Houlihan, Long Island Market Head Managing Director ($2,000 Victory Challenge Sponsor) said: “Once again, UBS is pleased and proud to sponsor this wonderful event. Our employee volunteers feel very fortunate to be right alongside the athletes as they compete – the performances displayed never cease to inspire us. This is one of our favorite community events, and we are honored to be a part of it."

Rich Papetti and Barbara Toney, co-Presidents of Citizens United to Remove Barriers ($2000 Victory Challenge Sponsor) said: "The Nassau Games for the Physically Challenged bring an unparalleled spirit of joy and happiness to the athletes and volunteers and the C.U.R.B. Organization shares that feeling proudly as sponsor of this wonderful event.”


Jennifer Kim Field, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Henry Schein ($2000 Victory Challenge Sponsor) said: “As a co-founder of Project Accessible Oral Health, a global public-private partnership that aims to improve the overall health of the disability community, we at Henry Schein understand first-hand the value of these partnerships to catalyzing change and inspiring others to action. By supporting the 2019 Nassau County Empire State Games, we are delighted to continue helping people with special needs have a better quality of life and gain more confidence in their abilities through competitive sports.”

Dan Bussani, CEO Bussani Mobility Team ($2000 Victory Challenge Sponsorship) said: “It is a great pleasure to support this event as we look forward to celebrating 35 years. For decades the Bussani Family has been impacted by the smiling faces, determination and hard work of the athletes," said Daniel Bussani, CEO, The Bussani Mobility Team. "The athletes are an incredible inspiration to so many well beyond the disabled community. For that the Bussani family says best of luck and congratulations! We can't wait to see those medals!"

Ann Rina, Community Relations Director for the New York Islanders ($1000.00 Finish Line Sponsor) said: “The New York Islanders are once again proud to support the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The games offer youth the opportunity to participate in sports and recreational activities adapted to their unique abilities. These games bring not only hope but joy to all the athletes participating. We look forward to participating in this great sporting event.”

Antonietta Chiauzzi, Apple Bank VP/Branch Manager: "Apple Bank Is honored and proud to continue our support of the Nassau County Empire State Games in 2019" said Antonietta Chiauzzi, Vice President and Manager of Apple's Westbury office. "The young athletes who work so hard to train and participate in the Games are an inspiration and are truly role models for all of us."

Tom Herceg, President, SureHands Lift & Care Systems said: “Once again SureHands is honored to support the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The Victory Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for the youth in our community to benefit from sports and recreational activities while having fun! Good Luck to all the athletes, do your best and enjoy the day!”

Angela Melledy, Publisher of Able Newspaper: "It is a pleasure once again to be part or the Nassau County Games for these wonderful children. I am happy to partner with the County to keep the Games going each year and thank County Executive Curran for continuing to support the Games."

Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder and former Director of the Games for the Physically Challenged: "This year the Games for the Physically Challenged will be celebrating our 35th Anniversary! Nassau County has been the site of the only program of its kind in the nation. The Games would not be possible without the support of County Executive Laura Curran and the many volunteers who come out every year to cheer on our Star Athletes, who inspire us! Congrats to All!"

Nassau County thanks its generous sponsors:

  • Hofstra University
  • Nassau Community College
  • Ike, Molly And Steven Elias Foundation & Elias Properties
  • The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Long Island
  • New York Yankees
  • The Dee Foundation
  • The Theresa Foundation
  • Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  • UBS Financial Services
  • Citizens United to Remove Barriers
  • Henry Schein
  • Bussani Mobility Team
  • Home Medical Equipment
  • Fidelity Investments
  • New York Islanders
  • SureHands Lift and Care Systems

Able Newspaper


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