SEATTLE—Phoebe “Betty” Martuscello, a retired teacher from Marlboro, N.Y., is to be honored as an AFT Everyday Hero on Sunday at the AFT’s national convention for her exceptional commitment to her community and its schools.
The awards, new this year, are presented to members from each of AFT’s five employee constituencies, plus a retiree. Martuscello was chosen from among four finalists in the retirees division. The award recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound impact on the workplace or has performed extraordinary community service outside of the job.
When she retired after 37 years of teaching, Martuscello couldn’t stop helping students and schools. She has taken the lead in creating and raising funds for the 1,000 Book Club, which buys packets of books and contributes them to local libraries for elementary students to use. She is known as the “Flower Lady” of Marlboro because of her work to organize, sell and distribute flowers three times a year to raise money for college aid to local students.
Martuscello also is part of an effort to raise money to build playgrounds at Marlboro’s elementary schools. In addition, she helps her church prepare and distribute holiday food baskets to needy households, and she assists with fundraising for the local Lions Club’s scholarship fund.
Martuscello is active in the NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) Retiree Council 13.
The AFT is holding its biennial convention July 7-11 in Seattle. Coming together under the theme “Building Futures Together,” more than 3,000 delegates will vote on major union policies that address the need to save and strengthen public education, build common cause with communities, and improve the institutions in which our members work.