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Huntington Country Club

Honoree Katherine Heaviside, president, Epoch 5 Public Relations (second from right) with (l-r) Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty President and Chairman of the Board Patricia J. Petersen, CEO Deirdre O’Connell and Board member Stanley C. Gale, grandson of founder Daniel Gale.

 Day of Golf, Tennis and Pickleball Supports Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens Not-for-Profits 

The Daniel Gale Foundation, the charitable arm of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the nation’s top ranked luxury real estate organizations, recently held its 1st Annual Outing in support of its mission to benefit charitable causes across Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.  The sold out event, which honored Epoch 5 Public Relations President Katherine Heaviside, offered golf, tennis, and pickleball to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at the Huntington Country Club. 

The genesis of this first annual outing was the advisory board of the Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty Young Professionals Network (YPN). YPN is a group of approximately 40 real estate advisors who meet regularly to share growth opportunities through networking and mentoring. This most recent event is one of several fundraisers YPN has organized in support of the Foundation. 

Co-chairing this event were YPN advisory board members Kathleen McCarthy, a real estate advisor who works predominantly in Queens and western Nassau, and Melissa Stark, who manages sales in the Huntington office. 

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty CEO Deirdre O’Connell kicked off the evening festivities, thanking the event committee and all in attendance for their support of the Foundation. President and Chairman of the Board Patricia J. Petersen, Stanley C. Gale, grandson of company founder Daniel Gale, and Katherine Heaviside joined O’Connell at the podium.

“I am thrilled to stand before such a wonderful group of supporters,” she said. “Together we represent a community of caring that can make a real difference in the lives of our neighbors who are struggling.  I am also exceedingly proud of our young professional group, who put together such an enjoyable and successful event.”

Heaviside was honored in recognition of Epoch 5 Public Relations’ 40 years as Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s public relations firm and . A Huntington resident, Heaviside is a regular on the Long Island Press Power List of “Top 50 Influentials” and has been voted “Best Publicist on Long Island” for 14 years in a row.  She has unmatched long-standing contacts and relationships with the media, corporate leaders, and community and government leaders.   

In 2022, as part of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s celebration of its centennial year, the Daniel Gale Foundation was launched to consolidate and organize the ongoing charitable giving and outreach efforts of the organization’s management, staff and real estate advisors to make a greater impact. In the year since its formation, the Foundation  donated the equivalent of 100,000 meals to Island Harvest and City Harvest food banks during Hunger Action Month®, supported Pink Aid in its fight against breast cancer, and raised thousands of dollars with its Young Professionals Networking and Bowlathon events, among others.




A fundraiser was held for VetDogs, an organization that pairs veterans with service dogs, at a golf fundrasier in Huntington. Photo by Sara Ging

By Sara Ging

The dog days summer were far from over Aug. 29 in Huntington.

The 7th Annual VetDogs Golf Classic kicked off at Huntington Country Club on Monday, and since its inception in 2009, the tournament has raised more than $1 million for the Smithtown nonprofit organization, which trains service dogs and places them with veterans and first responders. Total funds raised by the Golf Classic for America’s VetDogs was not immediately known at the time of publication.

Ret. Navy Lt. Melanie Monts de Oca and her service dog Liberty smile at the golf fundrasier in Huntington. Photo by Sara Ging
Ret. Navy Lt. Melanie Monts de Oca and her service dog Liberty smile at the golf fundrasier in Huntington. Photo by Sara Ging

Two veterans who received service dogs from the nonprofit were in attendance as guests of honor at the Golf Classic. Retired Army Maj. Peter Way and Retired Navy Lt. Melanie Monts de Oca both credit their dogs with improving their quality of life tremendously.

Way lost his right leg in 2014 due to complications from an injury sustained during active duty service in Afghanistan in 2003, and got his dog Rory right around the time he was discharged from service. “It’s unbelievable all that he does for me,” Way said at the event. “He’s hands when I need them, he’s a leg when I need it. … He adapts and takes on new stuff constantly, learns what I need and works with it.”

In addition to helping him adjust to his prosthetic leg, Way credits Rory with helping him cope with his post traumatic stress disorder and reintegrate socially.

“I thought of myself as highly functional, but I was highly dysfunctional,” Way said of his recovery process before Rory. “I had successfully cut myself off from just about everybody.” With Rory’s support, Way is now very socially and physically active. He is in training to potentially compete in the Paralympic biathlon, and has been on the VetDogs board since 2015.

Monts de Oca spent 10 years in the Navy before being medically retired for injuries and illness in 2013. She got her dog Liberty in 2014. Like Way, she credits her dog with helping her both physically and emotionally.

“I just wasn’t living my life anymore, because I was in pain and I was sick all the time,” Monts de Oca says. “She’s my lifeline. She got me moving again.” Liberty is specifically trained to help with mobility, balance, and to get help in the case of emergency.

VetDogs began in 2003 as Guide Dog Foundation project, and became a separate entity in 2006. Some staff, resources, and training facilities are still shared between the two Smithtown-based charities. Guide Dog Foundation began in 1946 with the aim of helping visually impaired veterans of World War II, and eventually expanded to serve civilians with visual impairment as well.

Navy Seal Cadet Corps, NY LPD 21st Division, presenting colors for the national anthem on the green during the America’s VetDogs fundraiser. Photo by Sara Ging
Navy Seal Cadet Corps, NY LPD 21st Division, presenting colors for the national anthem on the green during the America’s VetDogs fundraiser. Photo by Sara Ging

Unlike Guide Dog Foundation, which only trains guide dogs for the visually impaired, VetDogs raises and trains a number of different kinds of service dogs to help with balance issues, hearing impairment, seizures, and PTSD, among other disabilities. The cost of preparing each dog to work as a service dog is estimated at more than $50,000. This includes not only the rigorous specialized training period that takes place during three to four months, but also the process of breeding the dogs, raising them as puppies until they’re old enough for training, and funding a two-week intensive program on the Smithtown campus to teach veterans to work effectively with their dogs. Some dogs are trained to help treat or mitigate multiple issues, depending on the needs of each veteran. VetDogs also covers any necessary retraining and some preventative medical costs for the dogs.

Katherine Fritz, director of development, said there is never a cost to applicants who receive guide dogs.

Golfer Jim Barling has participated in the VetDogs Golf Classic at the Huntington Country Club all seven years. He is on the golf committee that organizes the event each year and considers it a success story, with local golfers and sponsors coming from Huntington, Brookville, and Northport. Participation is limited by the size of the green, so the tournament is limited to about 130 people. He said there is never any trouble filling those spots.

“We sell out every year,” Barling said. While there are new participants, he estimates that 80 percent of golfers return yearly.