By Sabrina Artusa
The Village of Northport, known for its beautiful waterfront, thriving art sector and flourishing downtown, is widely appreciated by visitors and residents alike. Dave Weber Jr., a longtime resident, has consistently shown his love and appreciation for his community through fervent volunteerism, hands-on leadership and consideration for the overlooked.
Weber began his career in service as a junior firefighter in high school, following in his father’s footsteps, who was also a firefighter. After graduating from college and living briefly in Florida, Weber moved back to Northport, joined the fire department and took over Seymour’s Boatyard, which is listed in New York’s Historic Business Preservation Registry. Three years ago, he became a member of the village board of trustees.
One of Weber’s most consistent efforts has been fundraising for Paws of War, a nonprofit that trains shelter dogs as service dogs for veterans and first responders, like firefighters, who have physical or emotional traumas. This past summer, he raised over $15,000. The fundraiser was held alongside a free concert Weber organized in celebration of the Seymour’s Boatyard 100th anniversary.
He also raised money for the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association when the status of their paychecks was uncertain. With community support, he raised money for gift cards to give to the officers at a dinner held at the firehouse.
“Not much is said of the Coast Guard, but they are one of the branches of service that should be taken care of. They are putting their life out on the line out there for others so we as community members should be taking care of them also,” Weber said.
Veterans affairs has been a significant concern of Weber’s. New York has the fifth largest veteran population at 790,000, according to the New York Health Foundation. Veteran suicide rates are significantly higher than the general population.
He got close to the Coast Guard community after organizing a CrossFit workout fundraiser for Nate Bruckenthal, a young Coast Guardsman who was killed in the Iraq War in 2004.
Weber also started Cow Harbor Warriors, along with several others. Under the Cow Harbor Warriors, Weber arranged for veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to visit Northport, where they enjoyed the water and attended a welcome dinner at the firehouse and a fundraising party. The goal was for the veterans, who came from across the tristate area, to feel appreciated.
Weber’s compassion is inexhaustible but is occasionally limited by external factors, such as participation, as was the case with the Cow Harbor Warriors, which, after several years of events, came to a halt.
“Everything revolves around volunteerism,” he said. “We come up with the ideas and put them to paper, but sometimes following through and executing is tough — it is definitely tough.”
He continued, “We live in a picture-postcard community. It is a very giving community. All you have to do is look out the windows of my office to know that this is a very special place,” adding, “I feel lucky to be able to live here, and part of that is the ability to give back to the community.”
As Nicole Carey wrote in her nomination letter, “Often, if a person or an organization has an idea they want to bring forward, it is Dave they call.” She added, “He is the glue to all resources and often will help with the life of the project just because helping folks is second nature to him.”
For his continued dedication to his community, in both times of celebration and in times of need, Dave Weber is honored as a 2023 Person of the Year by TBR News Media.