JONATHAN GABRIEL, BORN AND RAISED IN BROWNSVILLE, BROOKLYN, has been with the Red Cross for nine years in different leadership capacities. He began in Manhattan, but when the opportunity arose, he transferred not too long ago to what is the busiest, most encumbered Red Cross chapter in the country: Brooklyn. This is where fires and other circumstances lead to the largest number of displaced families. (One little known fact: the Red Cross stores 20,000 cots at a facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. One of Gabriel’s jobs is locating shelter sites such as churches and rec centers where the cots will go in an emergency; the Red Cross would act as a command center.)
Today he is executive director of the Brooklyn branch, which has just moved into a spacious and accommodating new office on the ground floor at 200 Schermerhorn St. The rooms smell of new paint, but are still undecorated, and Gabriel promises big changes for the building between now and its official opening in September.
Gabriel sees that that his goals for the chapter are ever closer to accomplishment in the new space. One priority is to recruit 10,000 volunteer reserves; right now he has about a third of that number. Other priorities are related to expanding education, offering more training and swimming classes, and raising grants for said programs.
The first time he took CPR was just a few years ago, in order to feel prepared around his two young sons. At 2 and 4 years old, they still put pennies and toys in their mouths, but he’s ready.
“It’s important to be trained, critical to have a preparedness plan,” he says. “The world has changed.” One unexplored source of volunteers: young basketball fans and players who would be inspired to work with the 6-foot-9 Gabriel because he was a former pro-basketball player on the international circuit.

THE SUMMER EDITION OF the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association’s newsletter “Atlantic Currents,” edited by BETSY KISSAM, gives an update of AABA’s mentoring program that has matched avenue shopkeepers with summer interns. Funded by a state grant from state Sen. VELMANETTE MONTGOMERY, the program set up intern with Yvonne Chu, owner of Kimera at 366 Atlantic Ave., and intern Lourdes Vazques with Kurt Sippel, owner of Downtown Atlantic Restaurant at 364 Atlantic Ave. (Other participants were not named in the flyer). The youths earn a stipend while learning and gaining confidence. Feedback indicates it’s going quite well.
THE BROOKLYN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S current issue of its newsletter Brooklyn’s Progress announces the departure of its special-events director, MAGGIE BEAUTE-LUCIEN. After four years of work for the Chamber, Beaute-Lucien has moved on to join Brooklyn Public Library at its central branch as manager of special events and donor relations. Her last big — huge — hurrah was the relaunched Brooklyn Eats at Steiner Studios.
“The Chamber has given me so much — allowed me to grow, to develop and learn the true fundamentals of event planning. The staff is the heart of the Chamber and without them, I could not have accomplished all that I did,” said Beaute-Lucien.
“Our full calendar of nine networking events, monthly workshops, four signature events, a few government forums — and last-minute productions in between — are no small feat to produce!” said ROSALIE RANCE, VP of marketing and membership at the Chamber.
In light of this, Chamber is actively seeking a special events manager. Visit it online at
Also in Brooklyn’s Progress is a bio of MARVIN SYLVOR, following the news that the renowned Brooklyn designer of fanciful merry-go-rounds passed away this spring. Sylvor’s Brooklyn-based Fabricon Carousel Company, founded in 1981, one a few custom merry-go-round businesses left in the country, was a member of the Chamber.
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THANKS TO BrooklynHeights Blog for two actor tips: Heights residents PAUL GIAMATTI and GABRIEL BYRNE were both nominated at the end of last week for Emmy Awards. Byrne was tapped for lead actor in a drama series for “In Treatment.” Paul Giamatti’s HBO serial “John Adams” earned a nomination for Best Mini Series and Giamatti was tapped as a nominee for Best Actor in a Mini Series.
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BROOKLYN MAN ADAM VITALE was sentenced to more than two years in prison last week after pleading guilty last year to sending unsolicited spam emails to about 1.2 million subscribers of America Online, according to At a hearing on Tuesday, a U.S. district judge sentenced Vitale to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release. He also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $183,000 to AOL.

Sheepshead Bay resident ELIZABETH R. BALSAM and Gravesend resident JULIA STOTLAND have been awarded college-sponsored Merit Scholarships by NYU … QIUXIA CHERRY CHEN of Bensonhurst received spring ’08 semester honors from Kansas State University for ranking in the top 10 percent of her class … STEPHANI MASON of Prospect Heights was recently awarded a $10,000 Minority Doctoral Scholarship by the KPMG Foundation. The foundation has granted a total of $410,000 in scholarship awards to 41 minority doctoral students for the upcoming academic year … Air Force Airman INGA GOLDBERG has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The airman graduated last year from Edward R. Murrow High School Air Force … Airman MARRISA A. JOSEPH has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Joseph is a 2006 graduate of Sheepshead Bay High School.