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NYCHA Awards

Caretakers Receive 2009 John DeCarlo Memorial Award

The 2009 John DeCarlo Memorial Award was presented to Cleotilda Morales, Caretaker J at Manhattanville Houses in Manhattan, on June 11, 2010, in the Ceremonial Room at 90 Church Street.

The Authority's premier employee prize is awarded annually to a caretaker whose job dedication and service to residents, best perpetuate the legacy of Caretaker John DeCarlo, who lost his life on the job at Marlboro Houses in 1997.

Chairman John B. Rhea presented a check for $1,000.00 to Ms. Morales and a check for $500.00 to runner-up Carlos Santiago, Caretaker J at Highbridge Gardens in the Bronx. This was the second consecutive year that Mr. Santiago was recognized as runner-up for the award. The families of both honorees were present at the ceremony.

John DeCarlo has come to personify the Authority's highest standards for job dedication and diligence by Caretakers. Always arriving at work on-time and hardly ever taking annual leave, John's quiet qualities and large size earned him the name of "gentle giant" among his coworkers.

His often-recounted exploit of retrieving a resident's diamond wedding ring by sifting through compactor bags by hand was again recalled by Gilbert Santiago, Borough Administrator in the Brooklyn Management Department, who was Superintendent at Marlboro Houses when John DeCarlo worked there.

"NYCHA runs on the strength of our Caretakers," Chairman Rhea told the honorees and guests. "More than any other position, you are the men and women in the hotbed and on the front lines, day in and day out, maintaining our buildings and meeting the needs of residents where they live. You are the eyes and the heart of the Authority... On behalf of the NYCHA Board, and on behalf of your fellow colleagues, thank you."

2009 John DeCarlo Award Winners
2009 John DeCarlo Award Winners Manhattanville Caretaker J, Cleotilda Morales, Chairman John B. Rhea (center), Highbridge Gardens Caretaker J, Carlos Santiago
Photo credit: Leticia Barboza

Winner: Cleotilda Morales, Caretaker J Manhattanville Houses
Manhattan Management Department

Cleotilda Morales was appointed a Caretaker J on December 26, 2000.  She was assigned to Manhattanville Houses where she has continued to work and where she has earned the admiration of supervisors, coworkers and residents.  She has impressed her supervisors by always doing her job to the highest of standards, buffing floors until they shine, and transforming her assigned areas into "a vision of beauty." Her coworkers like and admire her because she is a team player who works well with the entire staff and does not hesitate to assist when needed.  Residents notice how well her areas are maintained and often call the management office to compliment her work.  Everyone who interacts with her appreciates that Ms. Morales is always courteous, professional and dependable. Ms. Morales is dedicated to always doing the best job possible. 

Runner-up: Carlos Santiago, Caretaker J Highbridge Gardens
Bronx Management Department

Carlos Santiago was appointed a Caretaker J on November 28, 1994 and assigned to Highbridge Gardens.  He has been commended for the superior quality of his work and the excellent condition of the buildings to which he has been assigned.  Mr. Santiago is cooperative, takes pride in his work and is conscientious about his duties.  Even during the worst weather Mr. Santiago is at his post, making sure that his building is a "model of safety."  He has been recognized by the Highbridge Gardens Resident Association for his devotion to duty and his concern for the development's residents.   As evidence of his strong performance, Mr. Santiago was also honored as the runner-up at last year's DeCarlo ceremony. He exemplifies hard work, a quiet dignity and a desire to help others and to do his job in the best possible way.