A career of service, topped this year by serving as Shelter Island Supervisor, merited Gary Gerth the honor of receiving a George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater, Hofstra University.
Mr. Gerth, who earned his undergraduate degree from Hofstra in 1971, was one of six recipients of the award at Sunday’s 58th annual luncheon at Chateau Briand in Carle Place.
The award is named for George Mitchell Estabrook who was responsible for the construction of many of Hofstra University’s buildings. It is bestowed to people who have contributed to their communities in significant ways. Many, but not all, are people who are Hofstra graduates or have an affiliation with the university.
Mr. Gerth had a career in community service well before he ever contemplated running for town supervisor.
The Long Island native has been director of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, where he assisted veterans with difficulties securing benefits. He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, assigned first to the Homestead Air Force Base and then in Southeast Asia as a communications specialist.
Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Margiotta brought him into politics, initially as party press secretary, a post he held for two years, leaving well before Mr. Margiotta found himself on the other side of the law, charged with federal mail fraud and conspiracy.
For Mr. Gerth, it was on to a position as executive assistant to Hempstead Presiding Supervisor Francis Purcell, where he served as an ombudsman. When Al D’Amato became Presiding Supervisor, Mr. Gerth was appointed principal legislative analyst for the Nassau County Board of Supervisors.
He has also been chairman of the Nassau County Police Review Board and Director of the Nassau County Fire Academy.
Mr. Gerth has been a Cornell Cooperative Extension liaison and is an ordained minister, serving as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Bay Shore.