Our good friend and colleague, Kenny Umina,lost his battle with leukemia last Thursday. Kenny was a devoted family man, proud veteran and humble public servant. He served his country in the Navy, doing four years of active duty at sea, including participating in the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kenny later served as a police officer, corrections officer and became the founding director of a state crisis intervention unit. He later served on the New York State Parole Board. I only learned of Kenny's extraordinary background after he passed this week, since Kenny was not the type of person to talk about himself much.
Kenny was first appointed to a five-year term on the Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals in January 2006. Earlier this year, Kenny was re-appointed by the Town Board and Supervisor Messina to a second five-year term. To Kenny, public serif was an honorable calling, and throughout his life he heeded President Kennedy's call to "ask what you can do for your country." When Kenny became ill this summer, he spoke not of his battle with leukemia but of his concern that he was unable to attend a few ZBA meetings. He especially missed doing site visits and participating in our public hearings.
Those of us on the zoning board and the zoning department staff who knew Kenny and had the privilege of serving with him are better off for the experience.
Daniel W. Coffey
Chairman, Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals