By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO October 22, 2002 Top names in Sullivan County and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) turned out en masse Sunday evening for the annual ADL awards dinner at Kutshers in Monticello.
For 89 years, the ADL has fought anti-Semitism, hate, bigotry and terrorism in the U.S. and the world, and for a good portion of that time, the New York City-based organization has returned to its Catskills roots by honoring various supporters not in the city, but at one of Sullivan Countys best-known resorts.
That tradition continued Sunday when county businessman Lew Klugman and former FBI Director Louis Freeh joined Congressman Ben Gilman in being honored for their efforts.
They epitomize what public service is all about, said emcee Marvin Rappaport.
Gilman was the first to be feted, as the ADLs Caryl Stern (a childhood Monticello vacationer) introduced the retiring representative of the 20th Congressional District, which includes half of Sullivan County.
For three decades, he has represented all of us with integrity, she said to the crowd of about 300 people. He remains a man of the people. He has a big heart, but he doesnt have a big head.
Upon accepting the special Distinguished Public Service Award, Gilman highlighted incidents of terrorism and anti-Semitism, telling the audience, The ADL is an important endeavor for all of us . . . [and] is an outstanding organization. Continue your good work.
Gilman also spoke well of the next honoree, saying he is my favorite fighter against crime and injustice.
But it was Libertys own Alan Gerry who had the chance to introduce Louis Freeh, the man who headed the FBI for more than eight years and saw it through some of the most difficult events in the nations history: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, in particular. He stepped down days before the horrific events of September 11, 2001.
Calling Freeh a creative and innovative freedom fighter, Gerry presented him with the ADLs William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award, named after Gerrys late parents.
The ADL has been a great teacher and a great friend, said Freeh, the father of six boys. You were always standing next to us when we needed you.
That need was never more demonstrated, said Freeh, than in the days after 9/11, when the ADL and he had the tragic task of following reports on former Service Award winner and FBI agent John ONeill, who took a job as the World Trade Centers Chief of Security a day before the attacks.
He was one of the few individuals whose remains were found, said a somber Freeh.
Freeh subsequently thanked the ADL for the award.
You have been a great advocate and champion not just in the fight against terrorism but the fight for human rights, he said. I salute all of you for your leadership and advocacy. Keep up the great work.
Darryl Supak, Granite Associates chief of staff and senior vice president (a Ferndale organization run by Gerry), then introduced the final honoree of the night, Lewis Lew Klugman of Parksville, owner of the insurance company known as Klugman Associates.
I cant think of anyone I know who deserves this honor more than Lew, said Supak, echoing similar thoughts by Gerry, who earlier had recalled several dates he had taken to Klugmans fathers drug store in Liberty years ago.
In an age where honesty, integrity and morality are train wrecks on the railway of corporate America, Lew stands above the rest, said Supak before handing Klugman his Americanism Award from the ADL.
I pledge to live by and continue to uphold the ideals of the ADL, said Klugman, whose entire family was on hand to witness the honor and the standing ovation he received afterwards.