Tags Posts tagged with "Sound Beach"

Sound Beach

Leon Adler, left, and Bea Ruberto, right, together have brought the local history of Sound Beach to life. Photo by Aidan Johnson
By Aidan Johnson

Dozens of Sound Beach residents learned much more about their community on Monday, Aug. 8, during a second screening of the new local film, “The History Upon Our Shores: Sound Beach, NY,” at the Heritage Center in Mount Sinai. The well-received premiere was shown on June 10 at the same venue.

The film, produced and directed by resident Leon Adler, is based on the book, “Sound Beach: Our Town, Our Story,” authored by Bea Ruberto, president of the Sound Beach Civic Association.

“It’s exciting to be a part of sharing the town’s history with everybody, but I think it’s hard to say I’m among the first,” Adler said. “I imagine over many years, people were always telling stories through family members about the history, but I’m probably among the first to wrap it all up in a bow.”

The film tells the story of the quaint hamlet, from its beginnings as a summertime escape from 1929 onward to its present form as a community of over 7,000 residents.

Adler, who also narrates the film, infused humor throughout, keeping the audience laughing and learning as they digested plenty of information about Sound Beach.

Despite a runtime of under an hour, Adler devoted immense effort to getting the film over the finish line. According to him, two minutes of on-screen time could take up to four days of work to edit.

Furthermore, Adler put in months of his time to ensure that the narration, music and photos all synchronized perfectly. However, he said the finished product was well worth it to him.

“I think that when people know the history of where they live, it gives them a greater appreciation for it and just the whole background of it,” Adler said.

Ruberto was pleased by the interest that the movie garnered among the public. Despite living in Sound Beach for 45 years, she still considers herself a newbie to the area.

“I really began to appreciate Sound Beach when I got on the civic board,” she said. “Before that, I didn’t appreciate what a wonderful place it is to live.”

By joining the civic association, Ruberto realized the importance of local issues to both her and her peers. For her, in order to help keep the community beautiful, residents must remain active and engaged in it. 

The inspiration to write the book came to Ruberto about a decade ago when she was looking to get better bus stops for Sound Beach. “We were reviewing the stops, and a lot of them were wrong,” she said. “One of the bus stops was called Scotty’s Corner, and I had no idea where that was. I can’t tell you how long I spent trying to find it, and that’s when I realized that a lot of people didn’t know either.”

The seemingly nonexistent bus stop drove Ruberto to the realization that much of the history of Sound Beach was passed down by word of mouth. However, as the older generations passed on, the precious history they carried went with them. Ruberto has made it her mission to keep that history alive: to research it, write it down and to preserve it. With the help of Adler, she has done just that.

As the film concluded, the audience gave Adler a long round of applause. For some, the film brought back memories of the town that they knew while growing up. For others, it sheds new light on a place where they are only beginning to establish their roots.

A sign outside Infant Jesus Church in Port Jefferson welcoming pro-life activists this week. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Catholic parishioners across Long Island who support the pro-life movement rallied this week to support of the March for Life held in Washington, D.C.

According to Infant Jesus R.C. Church parishioner Kevin Crowley, in the past Catholic parishes in both counties have usually sent busloads of protesters to the nation’s capital every year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic they had to bring the rally closer to home.

On Friday, Jan. 21 — the day of the D.C. event — Crowley said that nearly 90 people gathered inside the Port Jefferson church to participate in a three-part event: an early Mass, the rally which featured three different speakers and, then to finish, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Crowley said that because the pandemic has made it impossible to send buses to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., this Friday, Jan. 21, the Diocese of Rockville Centre is sponsoring parish activities. These activities are intended to show support for the March for Life which will take place simultaneously in Washington — its 49th year.

Along with St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach and the Joan of Arc Council of the Knights of Columbus in Port Jeff, those who would typically be with the thousands down in Washington stayed local. The plan originally was for gatherers to rally on the front lawn of the church, just below the Sacred Heart statue, but Friday’s freezing conditions moved the group indoors.

The March for Life is an annual march to the Supreme Court of the United States that began in 1974 — a year after the landmark abortion decision in Roe v. Wade. This year’s theme in Washington was called “equality begins in the womb.”

This comes as the Supreme Court looks to reconsider the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) decisions that had written the right to abortion in the federal constitution.

According to Crowley, who is a retired Suffolk County First District Court judge, the State of New York has already codified a nine-month abortion right into state law and will be considering adding an assisted suicide law during the coming legislative session.

Pro-life activists are hopeful that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was argued before the Supreme Court in December, will overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade. The decision on the consequential abortion case is expected by this summer.

Crowley added in the past more than five dozen people would take a bus to participate in the big rally, often having to deny people for lack of seats. The last time the group was able to attend was January 2020 — right before the coronavirus hit us locally.

The 2021 rally was canceled as it was in the heart of the pandemic, and 2022 looked hopeful. But Crowley said that because of the omicron variant, it was better to play it safe, but to also express their support that all human life — especially that of an unborn, the aged, the poor, the differently abled and the terminally ill — starts from conception to natural death, and that services should be available to women in situations that were unplanned or not ideal.

“We’re looking to the future,” Crowley said. “The positive things to help women in crisis pregnancies — not just during, but after.”

Photo by Stefanie Handshaw

On Friday, Oct. 22, the Sound Beach Fire Department welcomed the community for a Fire Prevention Open House for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the open house, members of the community were given tours of the vehicles and equipment, got to use a real fire hose, and sat for a viewing of “Surviving the Fire,” a fire safety video produced by the SBFD that tells the story of a local family who barely escaped their house fire in 2015. 

The open house concluded with a live burn demo to demonstrate the importance of keeping your door shut when you sleep to keep the smoke and fire out.

Commissioner Jeff Vlack, Chairman John Romonoski, Vice Chairman Richard McKay, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, Commissioner James McLoughlin, Chief Darran Handshaw, Ex-Chief Michael Rosaco, First Asstistant Chief William Rosasco, and Second Asstistant Chief Alex Riley. Photo from Sarah Anker

On Saturday, Sept. 4, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) attended the Sound Beach Fire Department’s Annual Fire District Inspection and Installation Dinner at East Wind Long Island in Wading River. 

Anker joined the Sound Beach Fire Department members in honoring the newly installed incoming officers as well as other department members for their many years of dedicated service, including Erica Elisseou and Cheyenne Enlund for five years; Dede Zenz, Kevin Creedon, Ex-Captain James Hudson, Captain James McLoughlin and Chief Darran Handshaw for 10 years; Ex-Captain Joseph Luise for 15 years; Ex-Chief Thomas Sternberg and Ex-Chief Michael Rosasco for 20 years; John Marino and Ex-Captain Daryl Blasberg for 25 years; John Hoffmann, Joseph Russo and Anthony Russo for 30 years; Ex-Captain John Curtin and Ex-Chief Edward Sullivan for 35 years; and Philip Alaimo III for 50 years. 

Members of the Auxiliary Company were also recognized for their years of dedicated service, including Maureen Strauch for 25 years; Ann Moran for 30 years; Denise Hellberg for 40 years; and Patty Pulick for 50 years. 

 “It was an honor to attend this year’s annual inspection and installation dinner and to have the opportunity to recognize members of the department and the Auxiliary Company for their many years and decades of dedicated service,” Anker said. “I want to thank the all the members of the Sound Beach Fire Department and the Auxiliary Company for their continued and courageous service to the community during a challenging and unprecedented year.”

The Sound Beach Fire Department has been providing emergency services to the residents of Sound Beach for 91 years.

by -
0 315
Photo by Stefanie Handshaw

Dozens of people came together to remember September 11, 2001 last week at the Sound Beach Fire Department’s annual 9/11 memorial.

On Saturday morning, 20 years to the day of the attacks, local first responders lined up to pay their respects to victims and their families.

A bell was rung 13 times in memory of those lost.

This article was updated to resolve previously published mistakes.

The 9/11 memorial in Hauppauge. File photo by Rita J. Egan

“One of the worst days in American history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” — Former President George W. Bush

These were the patriotic thoughts of this president who reflected on the heroic services that were demonstrated by Americans during and after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. 

While it has been 20 years since our nation was attacked by the sting of terrorism, Americans have not forgotten this tragic moment. On the North Shore — about 80 miles from Manhattan at its easterly point — there are many memorials that honor the local residents who were killed, the dedication of the rescue workers and the War on Terror veterans who defended this nation at home and abroad for the last two decades.

There has been a tremendous amount of support from the local municipalities, state and local governments, along with school districts to never forget 9/11. People do not have to look far to notice the different types of memorials, landmarks and resting places that represent those harrowing moments and the sacrifices that were made to help others and defend this country. 

Calverton National Cemetery

Driving northwest on Route 25A, it is possible to quickly see the reminders of sacrifice within the Calverton National Cemetery. This sacred ground is one of the largest military burial grounds in America and driving through its roads, there are flags that have been placed for veterans of all conflicts — especially the most recent during the War on Terror. 

One of the most visited sites there is that of Patchogue resident Lt. Michael P. Murphy who was killed in 2005 in Afghanistan, where under intense enemy fire he tried to call in support to rescue his outnumbered four-man SEAL team. 

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, local residents can also see his name gracing the front of Patchogue-Medford High School, the post office in Patchogue, the Navy SEAL Museum that is near completion in West Sayville, and a memorial created for him on the east side of Lake Ronkonkoma, where he was a lifeguard.

Shoreham-Wading River—Rocky Point—Sound Beach—Mount Sinai

West of Calverton, at the main entrance of Shoreham-Wading River High School, you will notice a baseball field located between the road and the Kerry P. Hein Army Reserve Center. 

One of this field’s former players, Kevin Williams, was killed on 9/11, where he was a bond salesman for Sandler O’Neill, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This 24-year-old young man was a talented athlete who was recognized with MVP honors on the baseball, golf and basketball teams for the high school. 

A foundation has been created in the name of Williams, an avid New York Yankees fan, that has helped provide financial support to baseball and softball players unable to afford attending sports camps. 

Not far from Shoreham, driving westward, motorists will notice the strength, size and beauty of the Rocky Point Fire Department 9/11 memorial. This structure is located on Route 25A, on the west side of the firehouse.

Immediately, people will notice the impressive steel piece that is standing tall in the middle of a fountain, surrounded by a walkway with bricks that have special written messages. In the background, there are names of the people killed during these attacks and plaques that have been created to recognize the services of the rescue workers and all of those people lost.  

Heading west into Rocky Point’s downtown business district, VFW Post 6249 has a 9/11 tribute with steel from lower Manhattan. Less than a half mile away, on Broadway and Route 25A, the Joseph P. Dwyer statue proudly stands high overlooking the activity of the busy corner.  

This veteran’s square remembers the service of PFC Dwyer, who enlisted into the Army directly after this nation was attacked and fought in Iraq. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and this statue supports all veterans who have dealt with these hard psychological and physical conditions. 

A short distance away, the Sound Beach Fire Department also created a special structure on its grounds through a neighborhood feeling of remembrance toward all of those people lost.

Heading west toward Mount Sinai, it is easy to observe a wonderful sense of pride through the Heritage Park by its display of American flags. On the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, residents see these national and state colors, and this always presents a great deal of patriotism for the people utilizing this park.

Coram—Port Jefferson—St. James 

More south on County Road 83 and North Ocean Avenue, visitors of all ages enjoy the Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. There, people have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Learning Site. This site honors all of the citizens lost from the townships of Brookhaven and Riverhead, the rescue workers and War on Terror veterans.  

For 10 years, the site has helped reflect on this assault on America through the major bronze plaques with historical information, black granite pictures, benches, and statues of a bronze eagle and a rescue dog that helped search for survivors of the attack at the World Trade Center.

Leaving this park and going north into the village of Port Jefferson, people enjoy the beauty of its harbor, its stores, and they see traffic enter via ferry from Connecticut. Through the activity of this bustling area, there is a large bronze eagle that is placed on a high granite platform.  

Perched high, citizens from two different states brought together by the ferry are able to walk by this memorial that helps recognize the lost people of Long Island and the New England state. Driving near the water through Setauket, Stony Brook and into St. James, there is a major 7-ton memorial that highlights a “bowtie section” of steel from the World Trade Center.  

Due to the type of steel on display, there are few memorials that capture the spirit of the St. James Fire Department 9/11 site.

Nesconset—Hauppauge—Smithtown

Traveling south down Lake Avenue toward Gibbs Pond Road and Lake Ronkonkoma, the 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park in Nesconset is located at 316 Smithtown Blvd. This is a vastly different place of remembrance, as it is continually updated with the names of fallen rescue workers who have died since the attacks 20 years ago. 

Taking Townline Road west into Hauppauge toward Veterans Highway and Route 347, you will end up at the Suffolk County government buildings. 

Directly across from Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown, is a major 9/11 memorial created by the county. This memorial has 179 pieces of glass etched with the 178 names of the Suffolk County residents killed on September 11, with one extra panel to honor the volunteers who built the memorial.

As commuters head west to reach the Northern State Parkway, they drive by a major structure that was created to recognize all of those citizens from Huntington to Montauk killed on 9/11 by terrorism. It is just one of many such monuments created by our local townships, fire departments, parks and schools.  

Even after 20 years, our society has not forgotten about the beautiful day that turned out to be one of the most tragic moments in our history.  

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

Photo from Alice Martin

Alice Martin remembers it like it was yesterday. 

Her husband, a lieutenant in the FDNY’s Rescue 2, left his Miller Place home on Monday afternoon, Sept. 10, for his 24-hour shift in Brooklyn. He was supposed to come home Tuesday night, but he unfortunately never walked back through the door. 

“I left all the lights on in the house,” she said. “I left the front door unlocked because I figured maybe if he gets his way home somehow, he would just come in.” 

The mom of three boys, ages 13, 8 and 6, had just finished dropping them off at the bus stop when the first plane hit the tower on Sept. 11.

“As the day unfolded, and I was watching the news, I realized he could be there because even though he didn’t work in Manhattan, he was in a rescue company,” she said.

But Peter was always fine, Alice thought. “Then by six o’clock, when obviously he never called and then he didn’t come home, it became very real.”

Looking back two decades later, she doesn’t know how she did it. 

“It was beyond horrible,” she said. “But especially as a mom, that’s really the key. I went into mommy gear right away. My kids needed me more than they’ve ever needed me, and I really  needed to keep my head screwed on straight.”

Photo from Alice Martin

Peter C. Martin began his career as an FDNY firefighter in 1979. A native of Valley Stream, he graduated from St. John’s University where he met his future wife. 

“He was good at it and he loved it,” she said. “I think most of them do … It really is a calling.”

A full-time dad, who also worked at the Suffolk County Fire Academy as a teacher, she said her husband was just “a really good guy. A wonderful dad, and a wonderful husband.”

The two were married for 17 years when he passed away.

“It’s strange … I’ve been without him longer than I’ve been with him,” she said. “I never remarried, and my heart still belongs to him.”

According to Alice, Peter was just 43 years old on 9/11 and was among seven that were killed that day in his firehouse.

“I started calling the firehouse in Brooklyn and nobody was answering. My kids started asking questions,” she recalled. “And as the hours were going on, I felt useless because I wanted to do something. So, I actually started calling hospitals that I knew they were taking the wounded to.”

She eventually got a call that her husband was missing and unaccounted for. 

“That’s when neighbors started coming over, people started reaching out to me, which was comforting in some ways and frightening at the same time,” she said. 

Alice said the outpouring amount of love and support she and her boys got from the local community during that time was “wonderful.”

“I can say nothing bad,” she said. “There was just such a generous spirit from the people of Sound Beach, Miller Place and Rocky Point … That whole area, the letters I got from strangers.”

Peter was the only 9/11 victim from Miller Place. 

“I have to say it was a horrible, horrible situation, but it was also — now looking back — just unbelievable, the goodness of people to strangers they never met,” she said.

Along with learning that a community can come together, Alice said she’s learned two other things after that day’s events.

“I believe in the gift of time with finding a new normal and learning how to live,” she said. “I started taking one thing at a time, whether big or small, I just took everything one thing at a time.”

Twenty years later, with her now-grown sons and a grandson who bears Peter’s name, they still talk about him every single day. 

“Now the good thing is any stories that are told, it’s peaceful because we’re not crying, we’re just talking about him,” she said. “You just keep going, and I’m still going.”

Alice said that her husband would be “busting over the moon” knowing that he’s now a grandpa, and that the baby is Peter Charles Martin, the second. 

Photo from Alice Martin

“He’d be so happy to see that these three little boys have become three wonderful men, all doing wonderful things, all living their dreams,” she said. 

And the sons followed in their dad’s footsteps. All three have begun careers helping other people; as a registered nurse, paramedic and licensed Master of Social Work. 

“They’re definitely making a difference in the world,” she added. “He’d be so proud with everything.”

Peter loved snacks and Alice will be reminded of him when she bakes certain things. 

“I don’t believe in closure, but I do believe in the gift of time and the healing that can come with that,” she said. “The hardest part is you have to go through it.”

Photo from Suffolk Federal

Suffolk Federal Credit Union presented college scholarships totaling $43,925 to six high school graduates who plan to attend Suffolk County Community College this fall.

“As a community-focused credit union, we are committed to supporting hardworking students as they pursue higher education, while also easing the financial burden for their families,” said Michele Dean, CEO & president of Suffolk Federal. “We congratulate these outstanding scholarship recipients on their accomplishments and are pleased to help them achieve their educational and career goals.”

The following four Suffolk Federal Scholarship award recipients each received a scholarship of $6,275: Alex Pinto (Deer Park), Alyssia Furchert (Blue Point), Michael Krolikiewicz (Farmingville) and Zachary Gallant (Port Jefferson Station).

In addition, Juliana Ramai (Centereach) received a $6,275 scholarship from the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which was matched by Suffolk Federal for a total of $12,550. 

Daniel Paesano (Sound Beach) was awarded $6,275 by Suffolk Federal in honor of the Michael E. Reilly Foundation Memorial Scholarship for Excellence. 

Scholarship award recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community involvement and essays. 

The scholarships are a result of an ongoing partnership between Suffolk Federal and the Suffolk Community College Foundation.

“We are deeply gratified to continue to partner with Suffolk Federal to support exemplary students with these generous scholarships,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation. “Each of these recipients has a record of community service that reflects the values we share and the determination to succeed.”

Dr. Edward Bonahue, president of Suffolk County Community College added, “Young people are our greatest resource and best investment. Through these scholarships, Suffolk Federal demonstrates its notable commitment to helping Long Island families thrive and succeed.”

The credit union recently expanded its charter to include Nassau County as well as Suffolk County.

Photo by Sabrina Artusa

By Sabrina Artusa

Sound Beach Civic Association dedicates itself to the betterment of the locality and the well-being of its citizens. So, as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, members knew they needed to find a way to thank the frontline and essential workers who were risking their own health to keep others safe.

The civic initiated a fundraiser by collecting recipes and creating a cookbook, “Signature Dishes of Sound Beach and Beyond.” The cookbook was sold in order to fund this tribute.

The unexpected free services, such as the delivery of the tribute stone and the stone itself, resulted in extra money from the fundraiser, money which the civic decided to donate to the Yaphank veterans home.

On Saturday, July 31, in perfect weather, Sound Beach residents and others gathered on the lawn outside Hartlin Inn. The area was packed with firefighters, police officers, grocery store attendants, delivery workers, health care workers, school board members, government workers, Girl Scouts and  citizens who wanted to express their gratitude. Also in attendance were county Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) and Stuart Vincent, Mather Hospital public relations director.

Bea Ruberto, president of the civic association, stood at the stand in the center of the lawn to explain the tribute, but not before residents and friends pointed out it was her birthday. After the group sang “happy birthday” and the laughs had stopped, Ruberto explained the purpose of the tribute, which was inscribed on the stone: “Honoring the heroes all around us.”

After thanking her board, she commended government — “our public servants” — who have “been critical in getting us to where we are today.” New York state has one the lowest coronavirus positivity rates in the country, a feat Ruberto said could not have happened without their persistence and sacrifice.

She continued by honoring law enforcement, health care workers and educators. “Educators had to work harder to provide quality education,” she said. Susan Sullivan, president of the Rocky Point school board, confirmed that “nothing was business as usual.”

Sound Beach Fire Department chief, Darran Handshaw, talked of his experience from the past year and a half. “We were in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in a century,” he said.

Just as citizens struggled to adjust to life in a pandemic, firefighters had to adjust their protocols to combat the virus threat. “Our emergency response protocols were never designed to deal with it,” Handshaw said. “It was a very nerve-racking time.”

Chad Lennon, special assistant/veteran affairs with state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), said “there was no time out, no pause in life.” He expressed his gratitude for health care workers and recognized their continuous efforts. “The new [Delta] variant that is spreading in 2021 continues to pose new challenges for them,” he said.

Handshaw said of the tribute, “I think it’s great.  … It’s very nice that the community decided to recognize us.”

The stone, framed by blooming flowers, American flags and a new tree, displayed its message toward the road. “We wanted as many people as possible to see it,” Ruberto said.

Commanding officer of the 7th Precinct, Inspector Matthew McCormick, started in his post just as the pandemic raged in March 2020. “It was a tough time for law enforcement,” he said, and went on to tell of how 17 officers had to quarantine for two weeks. Law enforcement coped well with the pandemic, but McCormick gave credit to Sound Beach residents. “We are only as good as our community,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed in the handout the civic had prepared with the meaningful words, “Working together we accomplish more.”

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.