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Carol Wierzbicki Korey Chosen
“Citizen of the Year”
Carol Wierzbicki Korey is the only daughter of the late Genevieve (Jean) Kerstanski and Stanley (Smiley) Wierzbicki. Carol has six brothers Eugene, Stanley, Jr. (deceased), Leo (deceased), Allen, Bobby and Kenny. She is a lifetime Hudson Valley resident and now resides in Florida, N.Y.
Carol is very proud of her Polish heritage and its deep roots to the community. Carol’s great grandfather, Leo Filipowski relocated to Orange County from Greenpoint, Brooklyn and holds the distinction of being the first Polish family to settle in the area. He was one of the first Polish settlers (who happened to play the clarinet and have his own band) in the Pine Island area to clear the swamplands for farming. He contributed toward the black dirt community as it stands today. He and his wife, Anna Rhein and their seven children worked on their family farm and raised onions and vegetables. Their daughter Frances Filipowski Kerstanski was Carol’s grandmother. Carol’s grandfather (Frances’ husband), Joseph Kerstanski played the violin and belonged to a group that played for many Polish weddings and church affairs. The love for Polish music and hard work was instilled in the family household at an early age. Carol’s Uncle, Joseph Jr. played the accordion and also formed a successful band called ”Jolly Joe and His Sons.” The band was very popular and played at weddings and many local events. The family music traditions made a significant contribution to the local Polish community. It was her parent’s influence that inspired Carol to become involved with her Polish culture and proud heritage. Carol’s father and mother were also excellent chefs. Whenever any family member visited “The Wierzbicki Family” they always enjoyed delicious Polish cuisine, music and laughter. Carol often states today, “My brothers are excellent cooks”, just like mom and dad!
Carol remembers her paternal grandmother, Mary Jarocki Wierzbicki, as a loving individual who was so proud of her culture that she always spoke of Poland with great love and read a Polish newspaper daily. She was devoted to the church and remained active until her death at 89 years old.
It was Carol’s mom’s love for Polish music and song, her dad’s love for cooking Polish food and her great grandparents/grandparents proud love of Polish heritage (as well as her brothers encouragement) that inspired Carol to continue the Polish traditions in the “Wierzbicki” family today. Carol is the host at her home annually for fifty two family members (four generations) at a Wigilia supper and a Swieconka Breakfast (food blessed by Father Joseph Tokarczyk). All family members participate in the festive joyous occasions. Carol is so proud and feels blessed to have such a loving family involved in her life. She lights up whenever she speaks about her nieces and nephews, especially her great, great nephew Gavin Gass.
In 1976, Carol married Richard Korey who passed away in 2002. They met in Goshen through friends and had no children.
Carol graduated from SS Seward and attended Orange County Community College. She has been employed in the agricultural industry for 46 years, and presently works from home for the Stokes Seed Company as a sales representative working closely with and selling onion and vegetable seed to local farmers in the Orange County area. For relaxation, Carol enjoys spending time with her nieces, nephews and family, bowling. Carol is also an avid gardener.
Carol is a remarkable individual who has always contributed many hours of her time to her community and volunteer organizations. She is secretary of the Orange County Vegetable Growers Assn. for 30 years, is on the Board of Directors of the Florida Seward Seniors, a member of the Polish Legion of American Veterans, Post #16 Ladies Auxiliary and a past secretary to the Board of Commissioners of the Florida Fire District. Carol is also a lifetime parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church in Florida, N.Y.
The Hudson Valley Polonaise Society is very proud to name Carol, ”Citizen of the Year.” Carol is an active member of the Hudson Valley Polonaise Society who holds the office of secretary. She contributes in so many ways. Carol attends and participates in every function and activity that is held throughout the year. Carol bakes monthly birthday cakes for the Valley View Nursing Home, bakes and works in the kitchen for numerous dances held by our organization, Carol is the Co-Chair for Swieconka (Easter Breakfast), bakes and helps organize our Polish language classes held in the fall and spring, and attends our parade in Montgomery, N.Y., and the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City. She is always available when needed and gives freely of her time always with a smile.
Carol, from all the members of the Polonaise Society, Thank You for your tireless work, commitment and dedication! Our organization would not be the success it is without volunteers like you. Carol will be honored at our annual Wigilia Supper in December.