Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to profile our Advisory Board members and hear directly from them about why they support incorporation. Our next profile is of Elton Myteberi, a three-year Edgemont resident who works for an investment bank and has a fascinating background. Elton and his wife Val grew up in Albania while it was under dictatorship, and immigrated to the United States as young adults. In 2016, the Myteberi family made national news when their six-year-old son, Alex, wrote to President Barack Obama to invite a young Syrian refugee to move in with his family. President Obama read Alex’s letter to a United Nations summit on refugees, and the Myteberis were later invited to the White House. (See here and here for more press coverage.)
When did you move to Edgemont?
We moved to Edgemont in March of 2015, after having lived in Bronxville and Manhattan prior to that. We wanted a place that has a strong sense of community. We found that in spades with Edgemont—and I believe that sense has only grown stronger as we try to incorporate.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Val and I grew up in Albania. Until the fall of communism in 1991, Albania was a little-known country in Europe that had one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. We immigrated to the United States at age 18. We now have two children: a boy named Alex and a girl named Catherine. Alex is entering third grade at Greenville. He is an avid soccer player and a ball of energy. Catherine is entering first grade at Greenville; she is an aspiring artist and constantly converts our dining room into her personal studio.
My family and I had the privilege of meeting President Obama in the Oval Office in November 2016. My son Alex, concerned about the Syrian refugee crisis and one little boy in particular, wrote to the president asking him to go get the little boy and bring him to our house. Alex was later invited to meet the President, and got to speak with him for a few minutes. This would be an honor for any family, but is particularly a big deal for our family because of our background.
What have been your major community involvements?
My family and I have worked with organizations helping refugees and with the larger refugee crisis. I’ve also gotten involved with Edgemont soccer—I coached Edgemont Rec last year and will coach travel soccer for the Edgemont Jaguars this year. I’m looking forward to the start of the season.
Why do you support incorporating Edgemont into a village?
I believe in self-government and accountability. I support incorporating Edgemont because I want to be able to have an impact on the decisions of the body that governs our village. I want to have control (as much as my vote allows) on my village’s future. In particular, I’d like to see a Village of Edgemont focus on green spaces and, potentially, some sort of community center that could help build a strong, vibrant community.
The Town of Greenburgh’s response to the incorporation movement has greatly disturbed my wife and me. Because we grew up in a communist dictatorship, we have a visceral reaction to injustice perpetrated by the government on the governed. The private investigators sent by the Town into people’s homes, and the attempt to change the incorporation law after the petition was filed, fall into that category.
Edgemont now has the ability to get out from the government of the Town of Greenburgh and form its own village. Countries have had long, bloody revolutions to gain the ability for self-determination. The right to have your vote matter, and to be able to effect change in your government, is part and parcel with the greatness of this country. Without those civic rights and duties, you have oppression.