The origins of St. Nicks Alliance
Aug 30, 2017 | 1974 views | 0 0 comments | 215 215 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A couple of weeks ago we shared this undated photo from the archives with our readers, requesting any information they may be able to provide.

A number of people identified the man in the middle as Father Walter Vetro, the former principal of the now-shuttered Bishop McDonald High School. And of course the man on the far right is former assemblyman Vito Lopez.

This week we received an email from Michael Rochford, executive director of St. Nicks Alliance in north Brooklyn. Here’s what he wrote:

As the article points out, the person in the center is Father Walter Vetro, who was principal of Bishop McDonald High School.

After his tenure at Bishop McDonald, he went on to serve as pastor of St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Williamsburg. His appointment came at a time when Williamsburg and much of north Brooklyn was in a period of decline.

When a fire destroyed a row of housing on Powers Street near the church, the parishioners, under Father Vetro’s leadership responded to help 18 families left homeless.

This tragedy led to the founding of St. Nicks Alliance. Gary Sam Hattem, also in the photo between Father Vetro and Assemblyman Vito Lopez, was hired as executive director. Together, Father Vetro and Gary Hattem led the organization for 15 years.

In 2016, Hattem retired from his post as president of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, which is responsible for the firm’s corporate social responsibilities in the Americas region.

Among other accomplishment, under his leadership the corporation launched the DB SHARE (Supportive Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation Effort) program, which provides funding to providers to cover the early costs of supportive housing development.

Mr. Rochford sent even more information about the early days of St. Nicks Alliance, which we’ll share in greater depth next week.

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