Meltzer honored by palsy group
Shortly after learned that his youngest daughter, Shari, was afflicted with cerebral palsy 17 years ago, Joel Meltzer became an active volunteer for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County.
This year, Meltzer, a member of the Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, will be recognized with the Harold Greenberg Torch of Leadership Award as the organization’s man of the year at its annual Forget Me Not Ball on Nov. 2 at the Inn at New Hyde Park.
When he first heard about the award, Meltzer said, he thought his friends in the United Cerebral Palsy organization were kidding him.
“I’m very thrilled about it. I’m excited,” he said. “I’m the one that’s being honored. But it’s not about me. It’s about how the organization helps the children and the adults.”
As the journal chairman of the Forget Me Not Ball Committee, Meltzer said he’s been told he’s already done the top job in soliciting ads for the event where he’ll be the honoree.
Meltzer, 60, a certified public accountant, is currently a member on the budget and finance committee of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County and has served on its on board of directors for the past 11 years.
When his daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he said, had no knowledge of the disease. He said he researched it on his own and subsequently responded to a call for volunteers to help the organization.
“My fifth grade teacher once told me, ‘If you want to get something out of life, you give,’” he said. “In the beginning, it was a way of communicating with other people whose children had cerebral palsy. It was an eye-opening experience to see how I could help people financially or by just making calls.”
Today, Meltzer said the relationships he’s built with people in the organization have given him an extended family.
“I look out for them and they look out for me,” he said.
He said he’s also found a second family as a member of the Gold Coast Lake Success Rotary Club, which elected him its president in June. He and his sister Randi, also a CPA, are partners in Meltzer Accounting and Tax Service on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Queens, and he’s also a member of the Bayside Business Association Board Of Directors.
Next month,Meltzer said he will be walking – as he has for the past five years – to raise money for the American Diabetes Association in its annual Step-Out Walk at Jones Beach on Sept. 29. Meltzer, who is a diabetic, said he is not walking for himself but the sake of future generations of people who will develop the disease.
“I’m very community-minded,” he said.
Meltzer said he plans to continue his work for United Cerebral Palsy. He added that Shari, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, is continuing her education at American University in Washington, D.C.