Anthony Petrini, an events crew member at the New York State Fairgrounds, was presented with the Dedicated Volunteer Award by the Baldwin Fund for his efforts in helping to raise money for cancer research. From left to right, CSEA Deputy Director of State Operations Susan Radosh, Syracuse State Local Employees President Diane Burton, Anthony Petrini, his fiancee Brandie Lee Hoxie, and former state fair worker and friend Chris Hanley.

SYRACUSE — Anthony “A.J.” Petrini, a CSEA Syracuse State Employees Local member and an events crew worker at the New York State Fairgrounds, was presented with the 2023 Dedicated Volunteer Award by The Baldwin Fund at a recent annual fundraiser.

The Baldwin Fund was established in memory of Carol M. Baldwin with the goal of funding critical breast cancer research in Central New York. Carol’s daughter, Beth Baldwin, is the Baldwin Fund’s executive director and board members include Carol’s sons, Stephen and Alec Baldwin.

Petrini was honored for his role in helping raise money toward cancer research.

“Receiving the philanthropic award from The Baldwin Fund is a humbling recognition of the power of generosity,” said Petrini. “It reaffirms that our collective efforts can create a brighter future for those in need.”

One won’t find a bigger fan of the New York State Fair than Petrini, and he doesn’t even get to enjoy it as a patron.

Petrini started his career with the state in 2003, when he got his first job working the 12 days of the New York State Fair doing simple jobs.

In this 2020 file photo, State Fair worker Anthony “A.J.” Petrini operates a forklift to move the walls of the new portable horse stalls in the fairgrounds’ main horse barn.

By 2007, Petrini began to work seasonally for the events crew at the fairgrounds. In 2011, Petrini began working full-time at the fairgrounds with the events crew preparing and maintaining the grounds and buildings for the events held year-round.

Petrini’s mother, Susan, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in summer 2013 and passed just over a year later.

After his mother’s passing, Petrini admitted he went to a dark place mentally and emotionally. While looking to find some light, he met Beth Baldwin, who was staffing a booth at the New York State Fairgrounds. Petrini told Baldwin that he wanted to help give back in any way to help the fight against cancer.

In 2018, Petrini helped create a plan to put the Baldwin Fund’s logo on the pink recycling cans around the fairgrounds so people knew when they recycled their bottles and cans at the fair that the money would go toward fundraising efforts for cancer research. The program raised tens of thousands of dollars.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than A.J.,” said Syracuse State Employees Local President Diane Burton. “Everyone in our Syracuse State Employees Local is proud of the work he’s done with The Baldwin Fund. He’s a dedicated employee, activist, and leader and I look forward to seeing what he’s able to accomplish going forward.”

— Nicholas Newcomb


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