Brian Winant and Joy Levandowski are Brockport’s “People of the Year” for 2011. Brian and Joy don’t even live in the village, but beyond a doubt, they did more for Brockport than anyone else this year.
An analysis of the number of hits on lodeplus.com articles about Brockport clearly shows that Brian Winant and Joy Levandowski got things done while Brockport’s elected officials and community leaders hemmed and hawed about what to do next.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Joseph P. Kennedy
Brian is a Brockport police officer, and the head of Brockport’s police union, the Stetson Club. But he is a lot more than that. He is a man who won’t take no for an answer.
Brian has an amazing ability to turn a negative into a positive.
When Connie Castaneda shot down the idea of having the DPW hang flower baskets downtown, Brian stepped in and found a way to get it done. Not once, but twice, in 2010 and again in 2011.
When Connie Castaneda dumped on Connie Collins’ request to have the Village put up Hometown Heroes Banners to honor American servicemen and women, Brian stepped in and got it done again. Not once, but twice, 2010 and 2011, despite opposition from some unexpected sources.
Thanks to Castaneda’s recalcitrance, hanging Hometown Heroes Banners in Brockport became an effort solely supported by the members of the community. But Brian Winant heard a mother’s plea and made the banners happen. Thanks to Brian there were Hometown Heroes Banners in Brockport.
When SPC Tim Collins came home on leave in June, after serving in Afghanistan, a group of people from Brockport went to meet him at the airport, as part of Operation Welcome Home.
When Brian Winant walked off the escalator and into the waiting room, the two Blue Star Mothers from the Brockport area, Connie Collins and Karrie Formicola, both said excitedly, “There he is. We didn’t think he was going to make it.”
But Brian is an incredibly thoughtful guy, and skillfully deflected the attention away from himself by giving Connie Collins a bouquet of flowers.
Both of the Blue Star Mothers gave Brian a big hug and introduced him to everyone who was there as the man who is responsible for getting the Hometown Heroes banners hung in Brockport.
When the politicians dropped the ball, Brian picked it up and did what needed to be done.
Winant was also the mover and shaker behind the first Brockport Holiday of Lights Parade on Sunday, December 4th.
The parade was an incredible success.
But, as usual, Brian didn’t want to take the credit, and told lodeplus.com, “Everyone involved with the parade worked long hard hours.”
While Brian was out front leading the charge to get things done, his partner, Joy Levandowski quietly worked behind the scenes to make sure all the details were taken care of.
Whenever you saw Brian at the podium or the microphone, you knew Joy wasn’t far away, and you knew she had put in as many hours as Brian had. But Joy seems to be camera shy.
You have to look long and hard to find her in any of the photos taken when the flowers were hung on Main Street, or when they were watered, even though she was always there.
She was right there too when the Hometown Heroes banners were hung in Brockport, Clarkson and Sweden; making sure that the people hanging the banners had the right banner and that the parents of the serviceman or woman on the banner had a clear view as the banner was hung.
She also played a critical role in the success of Holiday of Lights parade.
Brian and Joy are also incredibly tolerant, and have an almost unbelievable ability to forgive people for their mistakes. Somehow, Brian and Joy seem to understand that everybody is human and humans aren’t perfect.
For example, Joy was a key member of the ad hoc committee to form a Village Court, adding her legal expertise to ensure that every “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed. But even though Kent Blair joined Connie Castaneda and Dan Kuhn to kill the Village Court, Joy and Brian continued to work closely with Kent, and his wife Rachel throughout the year.
Kent and Rachel were right there, with Brian and Joy, hanging flower baskets, watering the flowers, hanging the Hometown Heroes banners, and helping to organize the Holiday of Lights parade.
That showed a lot of class on the part of Joy, Brian, Kent, and Rachel.
Brockport is lucky to have Brian Winant and Joy Levandowski as members of the community.
Next time you see Brian or Joy, tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.
Except of course if Brian pulls you over for a traffic violation: Then it’s best to say, “Yes officer” and “No officer.”