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Sound Beach

Members from the Sound Beach Fire Department held their annual Memorial Day service. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Gone, but never forgotten.

In light of Memorial Day Monday, May 31, the Sound Beach Fire Department held their annual service to remember and mourn the losses of all the men and women who died in the name of freedom. 

Chief Darran Handshaw said the department also uses the day to remember their brothers and sisters who are no longer here.  

“Over the years, many organizations use this day, as we do, to remember and honor their own deceased members,” he said, addressing the crowd. “So today, the members of the Sound Beach Fire Department and our families, in our own way, observe Memorial Day.”

Handshaw added that this is the department’s 91st year. They wanted to remember and pay homage the members who helped build the foundation of the department that has been around for almost a century.

During the hour-long event, a dozen people sat inside the firehouse, as they listened to members read the names of nearly 50 people who impacted the department in one way or another. 

Eight-year-old Rocky Point Cub Scout Mason Ulscheimer kicked off the event with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Family members of the deceased people came up to the podium to say the names of their loved ones, and tears were shed as the department’s honor roll was recited. 

“We all should reflect on the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and on those who die for those freedoms,” said Second Assistant Chief Alex Riley. “To any families of our fallen heroes who are here today, we say, ‘Thank you.’ We owe them and their loved ones our heartfelt gratitude and so much more.”

The event ended with Handshaw, Riley and First Assistant Chief Bill Rosasco placing a wreath at the department’s 9/11 memorial.

Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

Town of Brookhaven residents gathered on Tuesday morning to honor Glen “Doc” Moody Jr., an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who passed away April 8, 2020 at just 39 years old.

The town renamed Groveland Park Boulevard and 7th Street in Sound Beach after the heroic Marine. 

The Moody family embraced each other as the street sign — which read “HM2 Glen ‘Doc’ Moody” — was revealed to the community. They were also presented with a proclamation by Councilwoman, Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) stating May 25 will be declared as “Glen ‘Doc’ Moody Day” in the Town of Brookhaven. 

The new sign is located adjacent to the Moody household.

“Growing up, Glen was really into GI Joes and guns,” said Glen’s brother George Moody. “So, there’s a lot of memories growing up in this home with him.”

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Joined by Navy personnel, veterans, police officers and firefighters, Moody was largely recognized by fellow war heroes and the community for the sacrifices he had made for his country.

After serving as an FMF Corpsman with the United States Marines for six years, Moody, of Miller Place, returned home unaware he was about to face one of his toughest battles yet, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Although Moody suffered from his disorder, Moody’s family highlighted the positive influence he created by being an active member of the community. 

“He started working with the Lt. Michael Murphy Sea Cadets. He would dress in fatigues and pack up all his equipment,” George said. “Something about it just lit him up to get out there and help these kids, teach them what he knows, and instill confidence and pride in them.” 

In efforts to aid Moody with his disorder, his family reached out to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation in California, which trains service dogs for veterans and first responders. With the support of the community, the Moody family was able to fundraise for a service dog named Independence.

Moody had also been involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and led the Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Team.  

“This is what Glen always wanted to do, to help others and back our country up. That’s really what he was all about,” George added.

Bonner said the late veteran was a tremendous advocate in speaking about PTSD. 

“Even though Glen is gone from this Earth, his legacy and advocacy continue to live on and bring awareness and help to those suffering with PTSD,” she said. 

TBR News Media talked to Moody in 2015 about a fundraiser he hosted at Napper Tandy’s in Miller Place. The event was aimed to raise PTSD awareness and raise money to help veterans afford and obtain a PTSD service dog. 

“I’m not the only guy [suffering] — I know I’m not,” Moody said at the time. “When I talk to veterans, they say the same thing. We need more awareness and that’s what I’m doing.”

Above: Leg. Sarah Anker with Bea Ruberto and volunteers at the Adopt-a-Spot in Sound Beach during Saturday’s cleanup. Photo from Sarah Anker

The Sound Beach Civic and North Shore Youth Council joined together to clean up a spot that will soon be home to a frontline hero dedication.

Bea Ruberto, president of the civic, said that the group was joined by local scouts and the NSYC to clean up parts along New York Avenue. With all groups combined, more than two dozen community members helped prepare for the tribute that is set to be installed at their Adopt-a-Spot this summer. 

From 9 a.m. until 12 on Saturday, May 8, Ruberto said it was a successful event.

“Everything was done by noon because pretty much everybody was there by nine, and everybody just jumped in and started working,” she said. “They were really great.”

Volunteers cleaning up from the North Shore Youth Council. Photo from NSYC

Stephanie Ruales, director of communications and public relations, and executive director Robert Woods said a handful of kids from NSYC joined in the cleanup, and stayed to make sure the spot was perfect. 

“We love working on community projects with our local organizations and are always looking for ways to get our young kids involved in community service,” they both wrote in an email. “It’s also a great way to raise awareness about initiatives that our civics are working on and the great things happening in our towns.”

While there, the volunteers from the youth council helped edge out one of the garden beds and weed and prepped the area for some new plantings and transplants. 

Ruberto said cleaning up the spot is paving the way for the tribute they began planning months ago. The idea is to have a large stone, adorned with a plaque honoring frontline workers who worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. A tree will be planted behind it. 

To raise funds for the project, the civic created a cookbook, “Signature Dishes of Sound Beach and Beyond,” earlier this year. Donations were made in exchange for the book, and the civic “sold out” of the first 100 copies almost immediately. 

“It was because people want to support this,” Ruberto said. “People really care about saying thank you to all the people who work to keep us safe.”

Ruales and Woods said not only was the cleanup helpful to the future tribute, but it also instills a sense of community in young people. 

“It helps them feel connected to where they live, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” they wrote. “There’s that feeling of accomplishment that they contributed to something greater than themselves.”

Volunteers cleaning up from the North Shore Youth Council. Photo from NSYC

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) stopped by to help, too.

“It is thanks to our committed community volunteers that our community’s green spaces stay beautiful and clean,” she said. “The Adopt-a-Spot will be the perfect place to honor and thank our frontline and essential workers who continue to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

A snapshot of North Shore Youth Council from back in the day. Photo from NSYC

April 13 was a special day for the North Shore Youth Council. The nonprofit, which provides programs and services to enrich the lives of local children, celebrated its 40th anniversary.

According to a press release from the organization, on that day in 1981, founding member Betty Hicks signed the certificate of incorporation. Their goal was to establish and implement educational, cultural, recreational and social programs for youth across the North Shore, encourage youth to participate in community activities, stimulate efforts to resolve issues and problems concerning youth, foster interaction and communication amongst other existing youth programs, and develop family life education programs to support the changing needs of families.

For four decades, NSYC has been at the forefront of youth services with a holistic prevention model that encourages children and teenagers of all ages to stay out of trouble and develop the life skills necessary to become responsible, successful adults. 

Based right next door to the Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School at 525 Route 25A in Rocky Point, NSYC services over 1,200 individuals annually, while offering programs in school-age childcare and middle school drop-in, enrichment, recreation, counseling, social skills and mentoring services that adapt to fit the changing times and needs of families. 

“We’ve been a unique agency from the start, but our ability to adapt and even expand our services during this pandemic made us even more of a critical resource,” Robert Woods, NSYC’s executive director, said in a press release. “Families, children especially, have been in desperate need of stability, socialization, and mental health support, so it was important that we found every way possible to continue to be that system in place.” 

Woods said the organization started off in someone’s home at a kitchen table. 

In spring 1980, a group of Rocky Point and Sound Beach parents met in Hicks’ kitchen to address the problems facing young people in the North Shore communities — and the lack of available services and substance abuse education necessary for their health and wellbeing.

With rising drug abuse and teenage runaways becoming a problem on Long Island, one thing in particular became obvious to parents in the Rocky Point School District — issues with substance abuse, mental health and juvenile delinquency did not discriminate. 

Problems happened in any town, in any neighborhood, to anyone. Those original six parents saw the need for community cooperation and recognized that prevention programs and strategies could help youth delinquency before it became more challenging.

And now, 40 years later, their mission statement stays true. Despite a global pandemic impacting nonprofits across the country, NSYC has been able to keep its head above the water and still provide assistance to whoever might need it. 

The organization has moved many of its programs online, offered free tele-therapy, started community support workshops and even provided virtual recreation before returning to in-person services.

NSYC’s team worked with local elected officials, school district administrations and the local Rotary Club early on in the COVID crisis to bridge the gaps by providing schoolwork printing services, laptop and earbud donations, food donations, and offering its main office and recreation room as a safe and supervised place for students without Internet to work. 

They successfully ran a summer camp free of COVID-19 cases, and at the start of the new school year, resumed before and after school childcare and drop-in services with numerous health and safety protocols. 

NSYC and its Youth Advisory Board continue to develop youth-based initiatives that benefit the whole community, including safe trick-or-treating Halloween events, holiday fundraisers, virtual talent shows, and open mic and game nights. Like other nonprofits facing funding cuts, NSYC and its diverse staff rely on community support. 

“We’re rolling out a new platform for fundraising and charitable giving,” Woods said. “We work hard to cultivate relationships with our communities and keep them engaged with us because many of these kids come back year after year and grow with us. The more we know what’s needed or wanted, the better we can prepare and provide for youth and families.”   

Woods, himself, began coming to NSYC when he was just five years old. Now, he’s trying to help kids with their programs the way it helped him 30 years ago.  

“I literally grew up and have just never left,” he laughed. “You know, it’s interesting to be the director of a program that helped you grow up, and I think that’s pretty unique amongst our organization.”

Right now, most of its students come to the Rocky Point location from Port Jefferson through Wading River. Woods said they’re hoping to expand. 

“There’s this amazing legacy of people that have come through us,” he said. “And we want to keep it going.”

Stock photo

Miller Place School District’s annual registration process for Andrew Muller Primary School’s kindergarten begins Monday, March 1 through Friday, March 19. Miller Place-Sound Beach children who are five years old on or before Dec. 1 are eligible to enter kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year.

As part of the two-step process, residents will begin by scheduling a mandatory appointment via the district’s online platform. In order to avoid any delay in the registration process, please have the following documentation accessible and available for each child that is entering kindergarten at the time of your scheduled appointment: 1) completed registration packet, 2) original birth certificate, 3) immunizations and current physical from your child’s physician, 4) proof of residence, and 5) custodial documentation (if applicable). Please note, incomplete registration packets will not be accepted and you may be asked to reschedule.

Registration appointments will be conducted at Central Office located at 7 Memorial Drive, Miller Place. For more information regarding the registration process, please call Natalie Vazquez at 631-474-2700 ext. 728.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website.

Members of the Sound Beach Fire Department, like Captain Greg Ferraro, give blood in memory of one of their own. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Almost five years after his death, an ex-captain of the Sound Beach Fire Department’s memory is still helping to save others. 

Jim Ford passed away on June 2016 after serving in the department for more than two decades. A beloved member of not only the department, but also within the Sound Beach community, Ford always was there to help. His wife, Nancy, still participates and volunteers with the auxiliary.

“Jim filled many shoes out of the office and in the office,” said Bill Rosasco, first assistant chief. “He loved it. He loved doing it. He loved being here at the firehouse.”

On top of his many roles, he founded and ran the department’s January blood drive, so it was only fitting to name it after him in 2018 — the first drive after his passing.

And on Saturday, Jan. 16, his memory was brought back at the firehouse at 152 Sound Beach Blvd., getting people together for something good. 

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, blood donations have been at an all-time low, according to the New York Blood Center. Schools, businesses and community centers halted blood drives early on, in fear of too many gatherings and the uneasiness of the virus. 

Sound Beach Fire Departmen’ts ex-captain, Jim Ford, who passed away nearly five years ago, is still making an impact at the fire house with an annual blood drive in his name. Photo from Stefanie Handshaw

The Sound Beach Fire Department usually hosts two blood drives in honor of their own. January is dedicated to Ford, while July memorializes Ex-Capt. John Drews Jr. But because of the pandemic, the July drive was canceled. 

The drive this past weekend was the first since the pandemic began.

“We wanted to still run this blood drive,” said Chief Darran Handshaw. “Even though we shut the department down for all the other meetings, we still wanted to do this because we know how important it is.”

Handshaw said that everyone on the board wanted to make sure the January drive went on, despite the department shutdown. 

“This is an emergency,” he added. “We need to get blood out there.”

He said that to make this month’s blood drive work, they took precautions including temperature monitoring, social distancing and a fogger machine that can decontaminate the room before the event and after. 

But the drive wouldn’t be happening without Ford’s spirit. 

“This would be something that Captain Ford would be here helping out with, even during [the pandemic],” Handshaw said. “It’s an honorable effort for an honorable man, so we’re going to do something honorable that serves the community for him and his death.”

Saturday’s event had more than 20 appointments, a dozen walk-ins and 31 pints of blood were collected, according to Margaret DeTurris, president of the department. Each pint of blood can help up to three people — so these 31 pints will impact 93 lives. 

“Jim was a great example  of wisdom and honor,” Handshaw said. “In my eyes, that inspired a lot of us to behave well and do the right thing for the community. He’s missed every day.” 

The Sound Beach Fire Department is actively seeking volunteers to serve as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The department provides free training for those positions. To join contact the chief’s office at 631-744-2294.

John Guido, of Sound Beach, stands in front of the bench that honors his mother, Jane Guido. He. along with his family, started a nonprofit foundation to continue her legacy of giving back. Photo by Kyle Barr

For years, if one wanted to talk to somebody in Sound Beach about donating or giving, that person was Jane Guido.

She was a volunteer and later the outreach director for St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach’s food pantry for well over 30 years, and even while she worked as an administrator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, she was in charge of its food drives. It was something her children couldn’t help but notice, and they were soon sucked into that world of giving back. She would do that work even as she struggled with diabetes. 

“What I used to do is I used to always help her out over there, it was a volunteer thing for everybody,” said John Guido, Jane’s son, who said in later years she was working at that place 80 or so hours a week. Some of her work went beyond food, even helping to provide oil to heat a person’s home in the winter. John, a senior manager at a real estate firm, said together with his friends and compatriots, he would help gather food or donations for whatever his mother’s outreach center needed at any one moment. 

After being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2017, Jane passed in August 2018 at the age of 74. In all those years, she never stopped giving. Her name now adorns the outside of the outreach center of the church she worked from, as well as a bench just outside its doors.

“She did that until the day she died,” John said. “The number of families she helped was huge.”

It was after her death that John and other members of her family decided they needed to do something to honor that legacy. That would come in the form of a nonprofit foundation bearing his mother’s name.

“The purpose of it was to help memorialize my mom, but it was also to keep her mission, keep her drive going,” he said. “Knowing that eventually, people are going to forget who Jane Guido is, but her drive and her mission will always be out there.”

The family organized and created a nonprofit in 2018, the Jane Guido Foundation and has worked since to provide people with food and other necessities, often working with established organizations such as the Port Jefferson Lions Club, who during this Thanksgiving season the Jane Guido Foundation donated 100 turkeys for the club’s annual drive. The foundation also donated toys and presents to 20 families through the Lions Club’s Christmas Magic program. It has also worked with Lighthouse Mission, which operates mobile food pantries all over Suffolk County, including in Port Jefferson Station and Rocky Point. Overall, John Guido said they touch about 70 families and a dozen different organizations through their efforts, and they are looking to grow those numbers.

The organization is looking for additional donations to help them grow its outreach efforts. People can offer support using the foundation’s website at janeguidofoundation.org or by contacting them at 631-258-8787 or [email protected] John Guido said they also plan to host several events in 2021, one for spring, summer and fall. A calendar of events should be available on the website starting in the new year.

Members of the Miller Place Fire Department and other community volunteers successfully packed a department bus full of food and other supplies for the St. Louis de Montfort church’s food pantry. Photo by Kyle Barr

Though students now aren’t meant to sit too close on the bus, the Miller Place Fire Department, for the 10th year in a row, is using every inch of space in a bus that bears its own logo.

Members of the Miller Place Fire Department and other community volunteers successfully packed a department bus full of food and other supplies for the St. Louis de Montfort church’s food pantry. Photo by Kyle Barr

MPFD’s 10th annual Stuff-a-Bus event managed to fill every seat in their red-and-white bus to the brim with food and other essential items donated by the community. All food was delivered to the St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach for its food pantry.

Items were donated by fire department members and the surrounding community at the annual Stuff-a-Bus event held at the Miller Place Stop & Shop Nov. 20, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to the donated items, Miller Place EMS Capt. Rob Chmiel, who headed the event, said they received nearly $1,000 in cash and gift card donations. The cash was used to purchase items the department was short of, and the gift cards were given directly to the food pantry staff, so they could use them to address their needs in the future.

Though normally the fire department holds its donation drive over two days, on the night of this year’s event, Chmiel said that they were receiving an incredible amount of donations, more than they usually do. They even received a car full of groceries by a volunteer at 4 p.m. By around 5:30 p.m., just two hours into the six-hour event, they had filled half the bus through several dozen residents donating a few boxes, cartons or jars at a time. By the end that same bus was packed to the seams. 

“We set out to make this the biggest year we possibly could, given the pandemic and everybody being stuck at home for most of the year,” Chmiel said. “We broke every record we possibly could.”

Elaine Bender, outreach director for St. Louis de Montfort Church, said the department did a “fabulous job” as they got way more than initially expected. The gift cards are also a big help as those are needed to help needy people purchase big ticket Thanksgiving items like turkeys.

The late afternoon-evening event was a large-scale operation, with a score of department volunteers bringing food to the bus and loading it up as music rang out over the crowded lot on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Other fire department volunteers stood by the doors to the supermarket asking local residents for donations.

“There’s a lot of hungry people right now,” volunteer Lori Aliano said. 

Since the pandemic’s start, Bender said the church has seen an increase in the overall number of clients they help. She added she expects there could be an increase in need should there be another statewide shutdown in the near future.

Chmiel thanked Marchand’s School of Dance for their yearly donations and Stop & Shop of Miller Place for allowing them to host the drive.

St. Louis de Montfort Church also hosts a drive for Christmas and will be accepting gift cards from any shop that sells toys supplies and/or clothing. Donations can be dropped off at the church located at 75 New York Ave. in Sound Beach.

Highway Super Dan Losquadro and Councilwoman Jane Bonner on North Country Road in Miller Place. North Country Road has been repaved from Honey Lane to the entrance of the Miller Place elementary school. Photo from TOB highways

The Town of Brookhaven’s plan to redo the well-tread North Country Road is coming close to completion, with only a stretch in Sound Beach left for 2021. Officials said the last bit of work will depend on an extra $600K as part of this year’s proposed capital budget.

Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced the completion of three separate capital improvement projects, totaling more than $3.425 million on North Country Road from Miller Place to Rocky Point.

The initial phase of this project took place in 2019 when sidewalk, curbing and crosswalk improvements were constructed on North Country Road and Miller Place Road from the entrance to the Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School to Echo Avenue. This phase was funded in part by a Multi-Modal grant secured by State Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) in the amount of $500,000, with the Town of Brookhaven contributing the $345,418 match. Also in 2019 and part of this project, crews worked to dredge the bottom of the Miller Place Duck Pond, lowering its level and improving its drainage and water quality, at a cost of $125,629.

The second phase of this infrastructure improvement project included the construction of new sidewalk, curbing, bike lanes, ADA-compliant handicap ramps, driveway aprons, drainage infrastructure, pedestrian crosswalks, benches, bike racks, and the resurfacing of North Country Road from Honey Lane to the entrance to the Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School. This phase was funded in part by a New York State Department of Transportation “Transportation Alternatives Grant” for $1.159 million, with the Town of Brookhaven contributing the $751,580 match.

It’s not just the road surface, but all the other improvements that make their work so important for the people who use it every day, especially when school is in session,” Bonner said. 

The third phase of this project included the milling and paving of North Country Road from Washington Avenue in Sound Beach to NYS 25-A at the Miller Place/Rocky Point border which totaled $555,411.

To complete the North Country Road reconstruction project in Miller Place, Losquadro said he has included 600,000 in his proposed 2021 capital budget to install over 3,000 linear feet of drainage pipe and 14 drainage basins on North Country Road from Honey Lane to Pipe Stave Hollow Road to solve the significant water problems experienced along this stretch. Once the drainage infrastructure work is complete, the entire roadway from Pipe Stave Hollow Road to Honey Lane will be resurfaced, completing the three-year capital project.

“The capital improvement projects completed on North Country Road over the last two years have created safer pedestrian access for the students who walk to the middle and elementary schools; residents who walk, bike and jog in the area; and motorists,” Losquadro said in a release. “Once the final phase of drainage infrastructure work and resurfacing is complete next year, we will have resurfaced North Country Road from the Village of Port Jefferson border to Route 25A at the Rocky Point/Miller Place border.”

Local civic leaders have noticed the difference from before to where it is now.

“All the improvements that have been done so far have made the area safer and more aesthetically pleasing, especially given all the kids that do walk there,” Sound Beach Civic Association President Bea Ruberto said. “I know that the town is strapped now because of COVID-19, but I do hope that they are able to secure the funding needed to complete this really worthwhile project.”

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A concept design for the essential worker tribute by Brianna Florio, a young local resident who will also be designing the cover of the cookbook pro bono.

By Bea Ruberto

How do we say thank you to the nurse who during the pandemic worked tirelessly to try and save a life and then sat quietly holding his hand when that life would have ended alone, without loved ones by his side? How do we say thank you to the doctor who day after day showed unfathomable courage by putting himself and his family at risk to care for us? How do we say thank you to all those who were willing to sacrifice their own safety and well-being so that we would have essential services in our life — the grocery store clerk who kept us all fed; the postal worker who made sure some of us received our needed medicine; the nursing home worker who cared for our most vulnerable; and so many more. To all those willing to sacrifice their own safety and well-being in this crisis, we are eternally grateful and we at the Sound Beach Civic Association want to establish a standing tribute to their commitment and sacrifice.

Sound Beach Civic Associaiton President Bea Ruberto speaks during the Veterans Day ceremony at Sound Beach Veterans Memorial Park. File photo by Desirée Keegan

These individuals are truly heroes — By showing up for work in dangerous conditions, they helped to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our area and elsewhere. With this in mind, the civic is launching a campaign to express our gratitude and respect. In the near future, we will be installing a tribute to the frontline and essential workers at the adopt-a-spot on New York Avenue.

We are also in the process of compiling a cookbook, “Signature Dishes of Sound Beach,” that will also be dedicated to the frontline and essential workers, with all profits going to help install the tribute. In a section of the cookbook entitled Heroes Are All Around Us, we will list the names of individuals and organizations that worked to keep us safe. So, we are asking the community at large to let us know who they are so we can say, “Thank You.” When we look back at these months, we want to remember all these amazing people.

Also included in the cookbook will be a section entitled Chef’s Specialties for those who aren’t cooks. Here, restaurants can tell us about their signature dishes or possibly even share a recipe. Although civic members will be given preference, all Sound Beach residents are invited to submit their “special” recipes. We ask that all recipes be original. If taken from another publication, it must be sufficiently adapted to make it their own. To help cover expenses we are asking $1 for each recipe submitted.

So, if you want to be a part of this worthwhile project, please submit your favorite recipe as well as names of the heroes all around us to be included in the book. Additionally, we are asking for donations as well as for sponsors to advertise in the cookbook. 

For more information please contact Bea Ruberto at [email protected]       

Bea Ruberto is the president of the Sound Beach Civic Association.