Northeast Queens leaders honored with Liberty Medal
Jul 11, 2018 | 426 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, a local civic activist and longtime youth sports leader were awarded the Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor given by the New York State Senate.

Bob Harris, a founder of the Queens Civic Congress and veteran of Community Board 8, was honored for his community advocacy. He and his wife, Edna Harris, moved into their Fresh Meadows home on 192nd Street in 1968.

The next year, he became involved in the fight against building a swimming pool in Cunningham Park.

That led to Harris joining the West Cunningham Park Civic Association and the United Civic Council, the umbrella organization of 30 civic groups in Queens. Harris eventually became president of UCC.

The Fresh Meadows resident also helped form the Statewide Committee Against Reassessment, a group that fought for the repeal of Section 306 of the New York State Real Property Law. The law requires that properties be assessed at full value 100 percent.

Harris was also known for his opposition to the building of a sanitation garage in the Ponderosa, which Borough President Donald Manes eventually dropped.

In 1997, Harris became one of the founders of Queens Civic Congress. Last year, he was honored for being on Community Board 8 for 20 years.

The second recipient was Bob Reid, the longtime president of the Bayside Little League. Reid, 68, grew up in Elmhurst, and attended Newtown High School.

He began his career in the police department in 1974. His 34-year career included stints as a detective working in units such as special victims, intelligence and robbery identification.

Reid retired as a detective second grade in 2008.

But the Elmhurst native was also involved in local youth sports. In 1971, he coached the Corona Boys Club, and then became the commissioner of the Boys Club. In 1975, he took a position as youth director at St. Bartholomew’s Youth Club, where he supervised movie nights, dances and plays.

Reid was introduced to the Bayside Little League in 1986, when he enrolled his younger son, Jonathan. He became a coach, manager and eventually, president of the little league. He has operated the league for 32 years.

State Senator Tony Avella, who has given the Liberty Medal to local leaders since 2015, said this year’s honorees helped make the borough a better place.

“People who dedicate their lives, like Bob Harris and Bob Reid, to making their communities better often go unrecognized for their tremendous contributions over decades of service,” Avella said in a statement. “I am happy that I am able to provide them with this high honor as a thank you from all of Queens.”

(Benjamin Fang)
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