2010 Public Servant Year of the Year: Robert ‘Bubbie’ Brown

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Bubbie Brown recited an original poem at the annual East End Voters coalition Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

Some people retire to take it easy. And some people end up being just as busy after they retire as before.
Robert “Bubbie” Brown of Riverside falls into the latter category.

And for his efforts, Mr. Brown is the News-Review’s Public Servant of the Year for 2010.

Retired from Brookhaven National Lab in 2001 after a 37-year career, Mr. Brown now can be seen at Riverhead school board meetings, where he attends as a representative of First Baptist Church of Riverhead, keeping the church apprised of school issues.

He’s also one of the judges of the annual Garfield Langhorn Essay Contest at Pulaski Street Elementary School, where sixth-graders learn and write about Riverhead’s only Medal of Honor recipient, Garfield M. Langhorn. And Mr. Brown is one of the organizers of the annual “Juneteenth” celebration in Stotzky Park, which commemorates the end of slavery and honors African-American education and achievement.

Mr. Brown is a board member on the Long Island Organizing Network, a grassroots organization that in 2010 was instrumental in assisting victims of flooding in Riverhead. He volunteers with the Open Arms Care Center, which collects food for the needy. He’s also active in the choir at First Baptist Church.

In the past, Mr. Brown has mentored kids and still is sometimes called upon to do so, according to the Rev. Charles Coverdale of First Baptist Church.

“Whenever we spot a young person who needs someone to stand up for them, I call Bubbie and he will go and investigate and sit down with the parents and the school system,” the Rev. Coverdale said.

“He is a wonderful person and worthy of any consideration you might give him,” the Rev. Coverdale had said when told of Mr. Brown’s having been chosen Public Servant of the Year. “You can’t take anything away from him for his initiative, his fortitude and love of children and of helping people.”

Former Riverhead supervisor Vinny Villella said he remembered Mr. Brown, a 1958 Riverhead High School graduate, from his school days.

“He was a great, great ballplayer then, and now he’s really one of the pillars of this town because he’s really helping out the children,” Mr. Villella said.

Mr. Brown is also a poet whose work has been published.

“He’s a great poet,” the Rev. Coverdale said. “Every year at our Gift to the Community Christmas concert, he provides a special poem.”

Riverhead School District officials have good things to say about Mr. Brown, too, and nominated him for an award presented by the Suffolk County Organization for the Promotion of Education a few years ago.

“He’s a real advocate for kids and for our students,” said Riverhead School Superintendent Nancy Carney.

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