This week, in this space, we want to talk to you about someone we’ve never met, about whom we’ve never had the pleasure of writing.
Because this person made a difference.
His name is Don Capalbi. A longtime member of U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s staff, Don died on Sunday at a local hospice facility after spending the last month at Long Island Jewish Medical Center due to a head injury suffered in a fall. He was 73 years old.
Don Capalbi was born in Astoria to an Italian immigrant mother and a father from Indiana. Don eventually moved to the Queensboro Hill neighborhood of Flushing, where he lived most of his life and was a community leader. Don was president of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association, and belonged to myriad other World’s Borough organizations, including the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, New York Hospital Queens Community Advisory Council, 109th Precinct Community Council, Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy, Lions Club, and the Knights of Columbus, among others.
Don was “a member of our family,” Meng noted.
“It is a deeply sad day,” the congresswoman said. At the time of his passing, Don was a community liaison for Meng. He served in the same capacity for the legislator when she was in the Assembly.
“We are devastated by this terrible loss,” Meng continued. “Don worked tirelessly for the people of our congressional district. He was an invaluable part of my team, providing me with information and advice about community issues, and representing me at civic meetings and local events. He also fought tremendously for his neighborhood, dedicating countless hours to preserving and improving the quality of life in his community.
“But Don was much more than a terrific staffer and civic activist,” she continued. “He was also a great human being; a wonderful and special person who was selfless and full of life, and one of the kindest, friendliest and gentlest people I’ve known. He touched and impacted so many lives and was loved, admired and respected by all with whom he worked. Rarely did I see him without a smile on his face. I thank Don for his many years of dedication, and I will always remember his unwavering commitment to our constituents, and his many efforts to make our district a better place for all who live and work here. As I grieve his loss, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed but the legacy of his service, and the contributions he made to help others, will never be forgotten.”
Just look at some of the words and phrases Meng used to describe Don: great human being; wonderful; special person; selfless; fought tremendously for his neighborhood; kindest, friendliest, gentlest; impacted so many lives; loved, admired, respected; unwavering commitment; dedication; legacy of service.
Though we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Don, we pray that he is resting in peace after a lifetime dedicated to the well-being of others.
Thank you for your service, Don. Thank you for making a difference.


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