Good News: Fighting Against Drunk Driving, Hunger; Showing D-Day Gratitude

A look at some of the inspiring headlines from around the region this week.

Sarah Haiken, a student at Half Hollow Hills East, received a proclamation from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Sarah Haiken, a student at Half Hollow Hills East, received a proclamation from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Here are some of the inspiring stories of the week, where community members sought to help others, or made headlines for their achievements.

Superstar Teen Honored for Work Against Drunk Driving

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone congratulated a Huntington Station teen on Tuesday for her efforts against underage drinking and driving.

Sarah Haiken, a student at Half Hollow Hills East, experienced drunk driving firsthand when a family friend, Karen Naclerio-Negrin, of Smithtown, was killed by a drunk driver in 2009. Since then, she has worked tirelessly withMothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD) to combat drunk driving.

MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization with a mission to protect families from underage drinking and drunk driving.

Westhampton Beach Honors the Service of Volunteer Firefighters

The Westhampton Beach Fire Department held its annual dinner and awards ceremony Friday, June 6 at the Westhampton Country Club.

Lester Gutierrez was recognized as the top responder for 2013. Thomas Glover was honored as Officer of the Year and Larry Saccente received the Firefighter of the Year award. John Neely received the Westhampton Beach Chief Stephen Smith Award and Eastport Fire Department ex-chief Ryan King was given a plaque in appreciation for many years of assistance to the Westhampton department.

In addition, five volunteers were recognized for having fifty or more years of service in the department. They were John Comba, Fred Overton, Conrad Teller, Don Griffin, and Jim Bachman.

Pines Students Raise Funds for Children’s Arts Foundation

Pines Elementary School music students recently participated in a Practice-a-thon to raise funds for the Courtney Sipes Foundation. The participating students practiced their music a total of 6,052 minutes and raised close to $1,100 in donations.

A former Pines Elementary School student, Courtney Sipes was an amazingly artistic, talented and caring girl who loved music and the arts. Sipes played guitar, trumpet, piano and was a talented, aspiring singer and actress and lyricist. She expressed her creativity through art using mediums such as watercolors, acrylic painting, sculpture and computer graphic art. Sipes cared deeply about others, volunteering her time and raising money to help others in need. Her family and friends established the Courtney Sipes Foundation to honor her memory and to help realize her dream of a better world.

Port Washington Fire Department Ex-Chairman Honored

Port Washington Fire Department Ex-Chairman Robert J Kropacek was recently honored by Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano.

A 37-year active member of the department, Kropacek was presented with the Nassau County Firematic Award for his service to the Department and the Port Washington Community.

Plainview Grad Selected as ECAC All-Star

A Plainview resident has been named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference 2014 Division III Upstate New York All-Star Softball Team and SUNY Oneonta had a pair named to the First Team.

Traci Lichtenstein, a graduate of Plainview-JFK who is currently a sophomore at SUNY Oneonta, was selected as a designated player.

Lichtenstein, who was a first team All-SUNYAC and NFCA All-Region selection, had a stand-out season at the plate for the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons this spring as the starting designated player. She led the team in home runs (5), RBIs (43), total bases (67) and slugging (.545). Her final batting average of .358 was second on the team.

Helping to Fight Hunger on Long Island

Whole Foods Market recently presented Mineola-based Island Harvest Food Bank with a check for $15,966, as part of a continued effort to assist Long Island families struggling with hunger.

The contribution is in addition to Whole Foods Market’s “Feed Four More,” initiative, which donated 14 pallets of fresh, nutritious food to Island Harvest during last year’s holiday season.

Rangers 'Blue Crew' Visit Kids at Cohen Children's Medical Center

While the New York Rangers were busy duking it out with the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Rangers’ Blue Crews helped to spread a little cheer recently in New Hyde Park. 

Serving as the team's community relations arm, the Blue Crew visited Cohen Children’s Medical Center to pump up some excited, young Ranger fans. Decked out in brand-new Rangers gear, the young fanatics belted out a resounding “Let’s Go Rangers” chant.  

The Blue Crew was working in conjunction with the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity that works with all areas of the Madison Square Garden Company to make dreams come true for children dealing with adversity.

Suffolk County Shows D-Day Gratitude

A ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day drew visitors to Suffolk County Police Headquarters in Yaphank on Friday.  

D-Day veterans Ben Gebbia, Julian Olgela, Michael Settani, and Frank Agoglia were in attendance.

There to pay tribute and to thank them for their efforts was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

“This is the greatest generation that sent its young men to storm the beaches of Normandy to save the world from forces of tyranny and evil," he said. 


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