Northeast Times

Following Jackie’s Way

The Brides­burg com­munity will ded­ic­ate next week an en­tire block to the wo­man who is a neigh­bor­hood icon.

  • Jacqueline DeSanctis, left, known around Bridesburg as “Miss Jackie,” has worked at the Bridesburg Recreation Center for more than 50 years. STAR FILE PHOTO

  • Jacqueline DeSanctis will have a block of Richmond Street dedicated to her service next week. MELISSA KOMAR

What began as a com­munity move­ment back in 2011 has fi­nally be­come a real­ity.  

Brides­burg’s own “Miss Jack­ie,” Jac­queline De­S­anc­tis, will have the 4500-4600 block of Rich­mond Street ded­ic­ated in her name next week, with an hon­or­ary street sign in­stalled just un­der the Rich­mond Street sign to sig­ni­fy the hon­or. 

Brides­burg res­id­ent Lisa Dick­son star­ted the ini­tial move­ment back in 2011 after her moth­er passed away.  

“Miss Jack­ie showed up [at the fu­ner­al] and it really struck me be­cause my mom was young enough to be her daugh­ter,” re­calls Dick­son.  

Want­ing to know more about this wo­man whom she had nev­er met be­fore, Dick­son asked around the neigh­bor­hood. 

She found that De­S­anc­tis, who cel­eb­rated her 50th year of work at the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter in 2009, was known as the “Queen of Brides­burg” around the com­munity — that’s how strong an icon she is.  

Dick­son de­cided she wanted to com­mem­or­ate De­S­anc­tis some­how, to thank her for her life of ser­vice to Brides­burg.

ldquo;A group of us star­ted talk­ing about it and really just came to­geth­er. It star­ted with the res­id­ents of the 4600 block of Rich­mond Street,” Dick­son said.  After some stalls in the pro­cess, Dick­son grew frus­trated. Pe­ti­tions were lost and the cause lay dormant — but not for long.

A group of neigh­bor­hood wo­men re­vived the cause in 2013, and began the pro­cess again.  

Dick­son cred­its Brides­burg res­id­ent Kathy Glatts as a strong sup­port­er of the cause.  

“Kathy did a heck of a lot of leg work. She re­sub­mit­ted the pa­per pe­ti­tions and got the phys­ic­al let­ters of re­com­mend­a­tion from loc­al busi­nesses” claimed Dick­son.  

The ef­fort soon grew to in­clude res­id­ents bey­ond the ini­tial block of Rich­mond Street, as well as busi­ness own­ers and City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on. 

Dick­son said that neigh­bor­hood res­id­ent Cindy Sabatino coined the phrase “Miss Jack­ie’s Way.” 

Joseph Slab­in­ski III, own­er of Slab­in­ski Fu­ner­al Home of Brides­burg and pres­id­ent of Brides­burg Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation, was a staunch sup­port­er of the cause. He said he’s happy that it’s fi­nally ac­com­plished. 

“It star­ted a couple years ago as a grass­roots ef­fort among a group of neigh­bor­hood gals…it was a long struggle, but now it’s hap­pen­ing,” Slab­in­ski said.  

Res­id­ents ap­proached Hen­on for as­sist­ance in get­ting a sign made by the Streets De­part­ment.  

“She ex­em­pli­fies great pub­lic ser­vice.  I can’t think of any oth­er com­munity where someone has been as in­flu­en­tial as Miss Jack­ie. It’s my hon­or to have done this,” said Hen­on.  “When people think of Brides­burg Rec., they think of Miss Jack­ie. In fact, when people think of Brides­burg, they think of Miss Jack­ie.”  

Mi­chael Groves, as­sist­ant re­cre­ation lead­er at Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, has worked along­side Miss Jack­ie for more than 10 years and at­tests what the res­id­ents of Brides­burg have ral­lied so hard to pub­licly re­cog­nize. 

“She has af­fected so many people of the com­munity in a pos­it­ive way.  She is a mem­ber of the Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil, she helps with the Tot pro­gram, she is heav­ily in­volved with the pool.  She is ded­ic­ated to the job, and this is her life,” Groves said.  

Des­pite re­tir­ing in 2008, De­S­anc­tis stills vis­its the re­cre­ation cen­ter five days a week, do­ing everything she did pri­or to re­tir­ing.  

“She re­tired and the only thing that changed was that she no longer gets a paycheck,” said Groves.  

De­S­anc­tis  told Star in 2011, “My job is my hobby, and it’s been good to me.” 

The of­fi­cial ded­ic­a­tion ce­re­mony of the sign, fol­lowed by break­fast at The Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, will take place on Thursday, Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m., with Hen­on, mem­bers of the Brides­burg Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation, and rep­res­ent­at­ives from the De­part­ment of Parks and Re­cre­ation and the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter in at­tend­ance to make re­marks. 

The com­munity is also run­ning a “Miss Jack­ie’s Keys” pro­gram. 

For $10, pur­chase a key and write a per­son­al mes­sage to De­S­anc­tis — she’ll be giv­en a gi­ant key ring with all the keys on the day of the ded­ic­a­tion. 

Keys are avail­able for pur­chase at the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, the Brides­burg Boys and Girls Club, VFW Post #2 (Monday-Wed­nes­day even­ings) and the Post Of­fice Caf&ea­cute;. 

For more in­form­a­tion, con­tact Patty-Pat Kozlowski at 215-816-3363

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