NYFAC Dreams Realized


Andrew Baumman shares a kiss with Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, one of the first elected officials to jump on the support bandwagon to help realize the NYFAC dream. The dream to bring a state of the art autism center to the community that began in 2004 was shattered just two weeks before the schedueled opening after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the entire first floor of the facility.




Electrical, furniture, walls, flooring, computers, instruments, kitchen cabinets, appliances, all gone.


And after the initial shock had started to wear off, phone calls made to the insurance company, sent a new wave of shock through everyone involved. There was no flood insurance, no tidal surge, no wind damage and no sewer coverage.


Anne Marie and Angelo Gurino of the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation, John Calcagnile from the International Society of SS. Cosma and Damiano, Joe Mure of JDRF, Joe Aiello, Kiwanis of Howard Beach, Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio and Chairperson of CCB 10 Betty Braton.




Every penny the organization had went into building the facility—there was nothing left. The families and children that NYFAC had been helping for over 15 years were seemingly stranded after the disaster with nowhere to go.


But finally on Sunday morning, with a lot of help and a great deal of hard work, beneath clear skies and surrounded by an audience full of warm wishes and support, the doors on the state of comprehensive


Councilman Eric Ulrich reminded the crowd that we are sometimes lucky enough to  bear witness to God’s work being done and  this was clearly a case of such work. He praised the efforts  of all involved and pledged his continued support moving forward.




Center slated to open months ago, finally did just that with a throng of elected officials, community groups and of course the children of NYFAC there to cheer it on.


President and Founder Andrew Baumann went through a long list of thanks, beginning with those for his family, citing his son Anthony, as his reason for being there in the first place.


Queens Supreme Court Justice Augie Agate has been monitoring the progress of the construction at NYFAC over the last several months during his daily walks on the boulevard and was on hand to congratulate Baumann and the entire NYFAC family for what he termed an extraordinary community service and contribution.


Words of praise were offered for the staff of NYFAC and for all of the elected officials who fought so long and so hard to get the necessary funding to get the project off the ground and to make the dream a reality.




Hundreds of supporters attended the opening ceremonies following which they were treated to refreshments and a tour of the facility.


When Congressman Gregory Meeks took the mic from Baumann he set the tone for the morning and every speaker to follow. “Every now and then,” Meeks began, ” the opportunity comes where we can truly see God’s work at hand…and here God has given us angels in Andrew and Pamela Baumann take care of special children like no one else could.


The mornings festivities concluded with three different ribbon cuttings, refreshments and finally a tour of the center.


Story and Photos by Patricia Adams



Sign Up To Receive Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now