The Block Island Residents Association held their annual meeting on Saturday at the 1661 Inn.

Block Island Fire & Rescue

BIRA President, Joe Loya opened the meeting with a recognition of Block Island Fire & Rescue for their heroic efforts in response to the Harborside fire this past summer. He asked Assistant Chief, Kirk Littlefield and Treasurer, Mike Lofaro to come up and receive a $5,000 donation from BIRA. In making the presentation, Joe said, “On behalf of the Block Island Residents Association, I want to express our sincere appreciation for the extraordinary efforts that the entire Fire and Rescue Department put forth in response to the Harborside fire this past summer. Your heroic work during this tragic event provides Block Island with just one more example of how fortunate we all are to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who are so committed to the safety and well-being of our beloved island.”

BIRA’s Role as Voice

Before awarding the Island Treasure Award, Joe Loya spent a few minutes focusing on BIRA’s role as a voice for the island. “As BIRA approaches our 70th anniversary year in 2024, it is important to note that while we have been partnering with and supporting numerous island organizations to help respond to present-day needs and strengthen the social fabric of our community, BIRA is also focused on the island’s future…but one of the most important ways that we as an organization can have a lasting impact on the island is to be a voice for our members and for the Island community ¾ a voice for full-time Island residents, but also a voice for homeowners, taxpayers and seasonal residents who are not registered to vote on Block Island. To put this into context, the Island has over 2000 taxpaying individuals or entities with only 1100 registered voters. Last year, less than 750 voted in the state and local election. And far fewer — 216 to be exact — voted on the $18 million Town budget last May at the Financial Town Meeting.”

Gloria Redlich Receives Island Treasure Award

BIRA President, Joe Loya presents Gloria Redlich with the 2023 Island Treasure Award at BIRA’s Annual Meeting at the 1661 Inn on September 30, 2023.

The culmination of the Annual meeting was BIRA’s Annual Island Treasure Award. “We are delighted to recognize our former Senior Coordinator and Island Treasure: Gloria Redlich. Gloria was instrumental through her connections and perseverance with government agencies in getting caregiver efforts increased and helping families navigate many of the challenges unique to Block Island. Possibly her greatest achievement was helping so many in the senior community to age in place, staying in their homes for as long as possible.”

In accepting the award, Gloria thanked the entire Board of the Senior Advisory Committee and also recognized “the driving and totally devoted energies of two of the most beautiful people and remarkable co-chairs, Gail Pierce and Sandra Kelly, who have largely been the driving force of the SAC.”

She went on to say, “It has been the joy of my life to work with you and now in selecting Jayme Hennessey as our new senior coordinator, the advisory and the town have acted wisely and well to bring us a very special person. I know her as someone who possesses the sensibility, skills and talents to help us fulfill SAC’s two-part mission, which is to assist Island seniors to age in place, that is, to remain in their homes and in the community for as long as possible and second, to enhance the quality of their lives on the island for as long as they are here.”