Our Honorees have made significant contributions, both personally and professionally in St. James. They are trendsetters, leaders, and mentors. They are humanitarians and innovators. They have risen to the top of their professions and have chosen to give back to our community.
Steven Bellone Suffolk County Executive
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone was sworn into office on January 1, 2012 and re-elected to a second term on November 3, 2015. He represents more than 1.5 million residents, leading an effort to make County government leaner, more cost effective while also finding innovative ways to save taxpayer dollars. Upon taking office, County Executive Bellone established a Performance Management Team that has implemented programs, such as SuffolkStat, that uses advanced business intelligence tools and data analytics to help improve performance throughout County government. As a result, Suffolk County is recognized as a regional leader in government efficiency and reform and has won awards from the National Association of Counties for Smart Government Initiatives. Steve also has made Suffolk County a recognized leader statewide in efforts to protect and improve water quality by making the issue a top priority of his administration. He launched the Reclaim Our Waters initiative to stop and reverse nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems. The calls of this initiative include connections to sewers in some areas and the installation of Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems where there is not a practical solution. The County Executive’s impressive economic development plan has focused on building innovative economies throughout Suffolk County to attract highly skilled and knowledgeable workers and to keep young professionals on Long Island. A graduate of North Babylon HS, Queens College, CUNY, and Webster University where he a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Steve earned his law degree from Fordham University and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1999. As an Army veteran who served as a communications specialist stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and received commendations for meritorious service, Steve is committed to supporting and enhancing programs for veterans throughout the County. In 2015, he launched the annual Suffolk County Marathon & Half Marathon to Support Our Veterans. Steve himself has run in four marathons including the NYC Marathon in conjunction with the Hope for the Warriors foundation. In his former position as Babylon Town Supervisor, he raised nearly half a million dollars by sponsoring the annual Soldier Rides with the Wounded Warrior Project and Run for the Warriors. County Executive Bellone has always been a strong supporter of St. James and cultural arts, which makes him a perfect honoree for the Save the Theatre Gala. County Executive Steven Bellone lives in West Babylon with his wife, Tracey, and their children, Katherine Ann, Mollie Elizabeth, and Michael.
Roseann Cousin - in Memoriam Founder - Chorus Line Dance Studio
Roseann Cousin was the executive director and owner of Chorus Line Dance Studio in St. James for thirty-seven years. She was a mother, wife, teacher, mentor, and inspiration to all who knew her. Growing up in Deer Park, her parents instilled in her a belief that she could be anything she set her mind to. She danced as soon as she could walk and knew at an early age that dance would be her life’s work. She was very proud to be a part of the St. James Chamber of Commerce and share her success as a female business owner with those beginning their careers. She loved celebrating the achievements, both onstage and off, of the thousands who joined the Chorus Line Dance Studio family, became “family” was what Roseann believed students became once they entered the studio. Along with excellent dance instruction, she provided a nurturing environment where friendships grew. She never failed to offer a consistently positive approach, using praise, encouragement, and love as her greatest teaching tools. In 1984, Chorus Line Studio introduced its first dance company and throughout the years it has grown to include the Elite, Senior, Young Senior, Teen, Junior, Petite, Starlette, and Shining Star Dance companies. Roseann was so proud to accompany her girls as they performed many times in places such as Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Six Flags Great Adventure, L.I. Ducks Stadium, and the Miller Place Christmas Tree lighting. Performing for everyone on St. James Day was always a source of pride and reminder of her studio’s strong ties with our beloved town. Throughout her career, Roseann served on the Dance Educators of America staff as master class workshop teacher and a competition judge, and, in addition, she taught at numerous dance conventions throughout the United States. She performed with Jerry Vale, Tom Jones, and many others in New York, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. With the strength and grace that Roseann was known for, she bravely fought brain cancer. One of her favorite quotes was “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” Her spirit was always upbeat and she pushed through any challenge with a smile on her face and tap shoes on her feet. Roseann’s wealth of experience and passion for dance inspired her staff and students to be the best they could be in the studio and in their lives as well. Her dance lessons and life lessons will live on in the hearts of the many who will never forget the extraordinary woman she was. Her daughter, Marissa Puleio, is now the proud owner of the business that was built with expertise, compassion, and love by her mom. Roseann loved knowing that her legacy would live on and that students will continue to have outstanding dance instruction and a second home at Chorus Line Dance Studio for generations to come.
GEORGE DESMARAIS Senior Vice President, H2M architects + engineers (retired)
George Desmarais is a registered professional engineer in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. From 1980 until his retirement in January of 2021, he worked with H2M architects + engineers in Melville, New York as a Project Manager and then Senior Vice President for environmental and engineering projects on Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley Region. The most recent initiatives George had been involved with are the St. James Lake Avenue Sanitary Sewer Installation project and the development of the Smithtown Comprehensive Master Plan Update. George has been a member of the Long Island Chapter of the New York Water Environmental Association since 1980 and has held positions on the Board of Directors, the Membership Committee and served as Secretary, Treasurer, Chapter Chair and State Board Representative. For his work with the NYWEA, he has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards. These recognitions include his induction into the NYWEA Hall of Fame in 2021, the Long Island Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020, the NYWEA Service Award in 2019, the NYWEA Environmental Engineer Award in 2016, the Long Island Chapter’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and Achievement Award in 1995. Throughout the forty years George lived in St. James, he was actively involved in local community groups. He was Chairman of the Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church Golf Outing fundraiser during the 1990s. In the mid 2000s he was a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Smithtown Booster Club, a club which runs over thirty summer athletic camps for children and young adults in the community and funds scholarships, awards dinners, and equipment for student athletes at the high school level. In addition, for thirty years, George was a member of the Board of Directors of the Smithtown Officials Association that umpired men’s softball games in Smithtown. From 1981 until this past January, George and his wife, Bonnie, lived in St. James where they raised their two children, Drew and Kristen. He is currently enjoying his retirement and remaining active by playing golf, biking, snow skiing, refereeing high school varsity basketball and football games, and spending time at the beach with his grandsons, Aidan, Jackson, and Liam, in East Quogue where he currently resides.
Thomas Donohue St. James Fire Commissioner
Tom Donohue, a lifelong resident of St. James, joined the St. James Fire Department in 1989 and is a current member and Fire Commissioner of the St. James Fire District. The restoration and preservation of the historic St. James Firehouse, approaching its 100th anniversary in 2022, was one of the most pressing reasons that Tom sought election as a Fire Commissioner in 2019. The St. James Fire Department is an organization comprised of over one hundred men and women who volunteer to serve the community twenty-four hours a day every single day of the entire year. Throughout the approximately thirty years that Tom has been a member of the department, he has volunteered to take on various roles from EMT to Captain. Tom’s present position as Fire Commissioner has involved his taking a lead role in the initiation of multiple projects. In addition to work with plans for marking the 100th anniversary of the St. James Firehouse, Tom is Chairman of the St. James 9-11 Memorial and is overseeing a special event to mark the twentieth anniversary of September 11th this year. Thanks to Tom and his coordination with the efforts of Celebrate St. James – Past, Present, and Future, an annual Christmas toy drive has been carried out with great success. The holiday season is further spirited with good cheer with the annual Santa Parade of trucks through the streets of St. James. He is employed as Senior Resident Engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is assigned to the World Trade Center Construction Division. Commissioner Donohue’s dedicated service as a volunteer in the community extends to the time he devotes to the Smithtown Bulldogs, Police Athletic League, to Boy Scout Troop 7, and formerly to the St. James Little League. As a member of Celebrate St. James – Past, Present, and Future, he has been an active participant in the organization’s meetings and a supporter of its mission and goals. Tom also volunteers in New York City for the NYC Explorers, a Port Authority WTC sponsored program designed to mentor high school students interested in pursuing careers in engineering, construction, or architecture, and for American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit program for newly discharged veterans who are transitioning into civilian life and seeking employment in construction and engineering. An avid fisherman, Tom lives in St. James with his wife, Theresa, and their two sons, George and Matthew, and loves to spend time in the great outdoors.
Mario Mattera New York State Senator
Mario R. Mattera was elected to the 2nd Senate District of the New York State Senate in November of 2020 and sworn into office of January 5, 2021. The 2nd Senate District includes all of the Town of Smithtown and parts of the Towns of Brookhaven and Huntington. As someone who has lived and worked in the 2nd Senate District, he represents constituents by bringing their voices to Albany with a deep understanding of the needs of working men and women and the vital importance of access to quality education for all. For over 39 years, Mario was a member and a leader of the Plumbers Local Union #200, Ronkonkoma, with a membership of over 1300. Mario’s hard work for the Plumbers Local Union continued with efforts on behalf of his fellow Long Islanders. He has dedicated time to his community as a board member of the St. Catherine’s Health and Wellness Advisory Board, the Community Association of Greater St. James, the Suffolk County Water Authority, and the Smithtown Advisory Board for new construction projects. His work with the Smithtown Advisory Board was part of their successful effort to work with Senator Flanagan to secure millions in state funding for sewers in the area. For the betterment of his community, Senator Mattera has joined efforts with the Work Force Housing Committee and Helmets to Hardhats, a national, nonprofit program designed to help military service members transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a career in the construction industry. For his many accomplishments, Mario was the recipient of the 2019 Labor Leader of the Year, Golden Lion Award, Order Sons of Italy in America, the 2017 Theodore Roosevelt Award, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, the 2016 Community Service Award, Ward Melville Heritage Organization, and the 2012 Labor Leader of the Year, PBA Columbia. In addition, Mario has been recognized as a dedicated volunteer with the Long Island Housing Partnership for Hurricane Sandy Relief Program, the Children’s Museum, Hollock Farm in Riverhead, NY, and the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. Senator Mattera, a friend and supporter of Celebrate St. James Past, Present, and Future, is a longtime resident of St. James where he lives with his wife, Terry, and his daughters, Jessica and Jayme.