This time, Adams honored 186 people and organizations who helped feed, provide medicine and assisted neighbors across the borough. His office hosted a similar socially distanced celebration in September.
“All of our COVID heroes gave of themselves freely,” said Deputy Borough President Ingrid Lewis-Martin. “Many put their lives on the line to ensure people who were in need received valuable resources.
“It’s a testament to our great borough that we have living heroes,” she added. “We mourn many people we lost during the pandemic, but we are grateful and thankful that through it all, we have our COVID heroes to help others who are less fortunate.”
Among the COVID heroes honored last Tuesday was Brooklyn native Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Fauci, who joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1968 as a clinical associate and was later appointed director of NIAID in 1984, has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS and other domestic and global health issues.
He was appointed to the White House Coronavirus Task Force in January, and has become a household name during the pandemic.
Adams said at a time when the country received mixed messaging on public health guidance during COVID-19, Fauci provided a “loud, clear voice of reasoning” that offered science-based assessments that calmed the public.
“Dr. Fauci clearly shows the best qualities of Brooklynites,” he said. “Being tough, tenacious and dogmatic, and standing up for what is right in his determination to do what is needed despite opposition.
“This is one president that truly loves you,” Adams added, referring to the combative relationship between Fauci and President Donald Trump. “We appreciate you and what you have done.”
Fauci was sent a copy of his “COVID Heroes” proclamation, which he held up as he spoke from a live feed broadcast in front of Borough Hall. The nation’s foremost infectious diseases expert called it a “great thrill” to be among other Brooklyn heroes.
Born and raised in Bensonhurst, Fauci attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy. He noted that his parents both went to New Utrecht High School in south Brooklyn.
“I am a Brooklyn through and through, and I’m really proud of it,” he said. “Whenever people ask me how I put up with all the stuff that goes on in Washington, I have two words for them: Brooklyn Strong. That’s exactly what I feel.”
He offered an optimistic assessment of the pandemic, and urged attendees to “hang tough.”
“The vaccine is on its way, so hang in there,” Fauci added. “We’re going to get over this together.”
Among the 186 honorees who were recognized in last Tuesday’s ceremony was Sung Choi, the grandmaster of a martial arts center in Boerum Hill. Despite the building being closed, Choi said he is still providing lessons.
He has also provided herbal medicine to aid people who have shown COVID-19 symptoms.
“We’re teaching at the park,” Choi said. “We’re still teaching by Zoom.”
Joshua Griffith, a 17-year-old Flatbush resident, received the honor with both Black Lives Matter Brooklyn and the Pakistani American Youth Society (PAYS).
With PAYS, Griffith has been helping to provide food every Sunday, and give away food and clothes to the homeless every weekend. BLM Brooklyn, meanwhile, has also distributed food and masks.
Griffith said it was “truly an honor” to be recognized at the ceremony.
“Who could imagine a normal kid, just helping out the community, being honored by someone like the borough president?” he asked.