A 41-year member of the Advisory Board for Vocational and Technical Education has been named as the Nassau County Senior Citizen of the Year.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano made the announcement Tuesday that Herman Eli Soblick of Franklin Square would be the 2012 recipient of the award at a special event on May 31 at the . The Nassau County Office for the Aging expects more than 300 senior citizens to attend this event, which celebrates May as Older Americans Month.
“It is my distinguished pleasure to announce Herman Eli Soblick as Nassau County’s Senior Citizen of the Year,” Mangano said in a statement.
Soblick, a former high school teacher and assistant principal, has also spent time as a volunteer working with and on behalf of youth, his local senior citizen organization and continues to serve fellow veterans in need at St. Albans Veterans Hospital.
Soblick was born in Brooklyn in 1924, the son of a Russian immigrant who had served in World War I. He was drafted into the Army in June 1944, soon after both of his older brothers were also called to serve in World War II eventually joining the “Wildcats” of the 81st Infantry.
On Sept. 17, 1944 the “Wildcats” invaded Anguar, a small island in the Palau Island chain, and Herman was part of the second wave of this operation. “Anguar has the dubious distinction,” he said, “of being one of only two battlegrounds in the Pacific where American casualties outnumbered the Japanese.”
During the Battle of Anguar, Soblick was hit by a piece of shrapnel and later received a Purple Heart for the injury.
Soblick obtained a bachelor’s degree in education and later a master’s degree in administration from New York University. During this time he also met his future wife, Doris, on a boat ride on the Hudson River, and they married in 1948. Doris and Herman are the proud parents of a daughter who currently lives in Vermont. They spent their first few years together in Brooklyn and then moved to their present home in Franklin Square in 1955.
Soblick refers to himself as a printer by trade, but his career as an educator began with his first teaching assignment at the NY School of Printing, now known as the High School of Graphic Communication Arts, his alma mater. More than 37 years later he retired in 1987 after serving his last 17 years as Assistant Principal.
His volunteer activities also began in earnest during this time. He was involved in both Boy and Girl Scouts and Little League, and tutored and counseled neighborhood children, many of them recent immigrants to this country. He was active with the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, a national youth leadership program, and sought to involve many of his students in their various activities.
“I felt it was very important to train them and give them leadership skills,” he said. “After all, these youths were expected to become the leaders of tomorrow.” In 1966 he joined the NYS Association for Vocational Industrial Education Organizations, serving as Vice-President and Treasurer; and also the NYS Occupational Education Teachers’ Association, where he served as President.
In 1967 he was appointed to Sewanhaka School District’s Advisory Board for Vocational and Technical Education and served as a board member for 41 years.