Martin Colberg summed up his platform in one word after being elected president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association: outreach.
Colberg, along with two others, were tapped as the civic group’s newest officers to turn the year 2014 into one of success. After years on the board of directors, the Woodhaven native said he was excited to take the reins and steer the WRBA into an even greater advocacy group in Queens.
“This is a very big community and we still have to do a better job to reach more people,” Colberg said. “I appreciate this opportunity to do what I can for Woodhaven and I have a great supporting cast to take part in everything we do.”
The new president’s election succeeded Ed Wendell, who has served as the WRBA’s chief since 2010 and watched Colberg emerge as the civic’s first Latino leader.
“I think he brings a lot of energy to the table. He is someone who rolls up his sleeves and gets things done,” Wendell said. “He’s also a quiet leader – not someone who rushes up in front of the microphone. He works when it counts.”
Wendell said Superstorm Sandy brought one of Colberg’s shining moments when he volunteered hours to help organize and deliver over 1,000 boxes of clothing and supplies to those who needed it most. By the time they were finished, Wendell said other members were looking to Colberg for his insight and leadership.
Colberg joined the WRBA back in 2010 after looking it up on Facebook and building a relationship with both Wendell and other members of the board. He eventually became a board member himself after about a year and became a vital part of the team, the civic said.
And now with his newest role as president, Colberg said he hoped to attract more members the same way he first learned of the WRBA to help give the Woodhaven community a unified voice against some of the most pressing issues.
Joining Colberg as new WRBA officers were also Giedra Kregzdys as vice president and Stephen Forte as treasurer.
Since signing onto the board two years ago, Colberg said he was proud of the WRBA’s work in fighting street graffiti and working with different city agencies to keep the community safe from threats like dangerous weather events or critical budget cuts.
Looking ahead on his first year as president, Colberg said it was important the WRBA remains active on issues like how the city utilizes the abandoned Rockaway rail line – a debate that has headline the group’s meetings for months. The group held a public forum on the matter earlier this month and Colberg said he hopes to keep the Woodhaven community involved and informed.
“Ed and the rest of the Board have done a tremendous job over the past several years, so I know I have big shoes to fill,” he said. “But I also have a solid foundation to build on, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to continuing the WRBA’s good work and its outreach to everyone in Woodhaven.”
By Phil Corso