By Miguel Bustamante
It isn’t easy to be more of a principal community participant in Kings Park than Miles Borden — even local history wouldn’t be quite the same without him, seeing as he literally wrote the book on it.
“Miles and Charlie [Reichert] are very similar,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga). “They’re both very low-key, but they both [pull a lot of weight] and are able to get things done in the community.” Talking specifically of Borden, Trotta added, “He’s very well respected, just a great guy.”
Six generations of the Borden clan have called Kings Park their home, dating as far back as the 19th century, even boasting the founding of the Lucien Memorial United Methodist Church. Borden has, himself, dedicated his personal and professional life to the community he loves.
A graduate of Kings Park High School, Class of 1945, Borden, 88, continued his academic career by attaining collegiate degrees from Hofstra University, NYU and Oswego State where, in 1949, his mile relay team set a record time.
For his knowledge and efforts, Borden has been named a 2015 Times Beacon Record Newspapers Person of the Year.
Back in Long Island, Borden enjoyed a 34-year career in public education as a schoolteacher then, ultimately, as interim superintendent at the Amityville school district. Throughout his tenure as an educator, Borden found time to volunteer at the Kings Park Fire Department, an endeavor that lasted over 60 years, and ultimately he became president of the department.
Borden is also a consummate historian and a major contributor to local history. “He was afraid that the history of Kings Park was going to get washed away with the rain,” said his brother Noel Borden. “Everyone he talked to didn’t know a whole lot about the town because no one had taken the time to write anything about it.” This fear prompted Miles Borden to author five history books:
• “History of the Kings Park Fire Department”;
• “The First One Hundred Years (1892-1992): Lucien Memorial United Methodist Church”;
• “History of Kings Park in Words and Pictures”;
• “History of Our School District Community: Fort Salonga, Kings Park, San Remo”;
• “First One Hundred Years, Fire and Emergency Services: History of the Kings Park Fire Department and the Kings Park Fire District.”
“He’s made Kings Park history come alive,” said Gail Hessel, a member of Smithtown Historical Society. “People didn’t really think about Kings Park having a history. And he’s even inspired me to write a book. [Miles] is the kind of person that, if I was working on a book, he would encourage me by saying, ‘Good job.’”
Along with his involvement with the fire department, Borden has served on several other local boards, including Suffolk County Parks and Kings Park Heritage Museum, where he is one of the founding members.
Now Borden is looking to enjoy his post-retirement years with wife Leona. He has remained a consummate runner and even talks to the community’s youth of the importance of staying fit and active.
But don’t be surprised if you still see him hitting the pavement for an early morning jog.