Over the past few weeks, I have attended the memorial Masses held at Our Lady of Victory for those lost in the Sept. 11 attack. One remaining memorial service for Keith Fairben will be held Oct. 27. Diane and Ken Fairben lost their son at the World Trade Center site. Keith was an emergency medical responder for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and went to the scene to assist. He was also a vital member of our Floral Park Volunteer Fire Department. The community was heartbroken when he was reported missing. Keith, at age 34, will always be remembered as one of our true hometown heroes.
I did not know all the local victims of the WTC attack but by attending the memorial services and listening to the touching tributes delivered by family members, friends and co-workers, I feel I know more about each one's personality, character and humanity. As a community, we can be so very proud of these Americans.
Many residents have conveyed to me their feelings of concern for those who lost loved ones, recognizing that this is a very difficult time for spouses, parents, children, brothers and sisters, close friends and co-workers. I hope that knowing that our community shares their grief and sadness will help them through this period of mourning.
As Mayor, I am very proud of our residents and business owners who have demonstrated generosity, care and consideration for our neighbors who have been touched by the unforeseen attack on our nation. It is good to know that the Community Spirit Fund has been established and so many groups are supporting this worthwhile effort.
On Friday evening, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m., an evening of "Remembrance, Patriotism and Community Spirit" will be held at the Floral Park-Bellerose School. The program will start with the entrance of American Legion, the Floral Park, Bellerose and Bellerose Terrace Fire Departments and the Floral Park Police Department color guards. The evening program includes tributes, presentations and a performance of patriotic music by the Concert Pops of Long Island. Floral Park, Bellerose and Bellerose Terrace have joined together as one community to pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and their families. Local firefighters and police volunteers who took part in activities related to the attack at the World Trade Center will also be recognized.
Spirit Awards will be presented to people in the community who have significantly contributed their time and talents for the benefit of their neighbors and their community.
A concert of patriotic music will be performed by the Long Island Pops, a 36-piece orchestra conducted by Dean Karahalis. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
During the past few weeks, the village board became aware of the availability of several properties. Approximately three years ago, a commercial building on Mayflower Avenue, adjacent to the village's recycling area was purchased and has proved to be of great benefit to our village.
During the past six months, two other properties were explored. These properties are in close proximity to Village Hall. Although there appeared to be potential uses of one or both buildings, the board decided it would not be in the best interest of the village to further explore acquisition of either of the buildings.
Over two years ago, the village was informed that the Nassau Athletic Club building was available for purchase. The village understood that several members of the N.A.C. felt the building had historic significance and that the village might be interested in preserving it. In August of this year, the village decided to contract for purchase of the property for $340,000. The closing will take place in approximately one year.
The board will be exploring the possibility of securing historic preservation and archival record grants to help defray the cost of the building. Projected uses of the building will not negatively impact the neighborhood. Use of the building, which rests on three building lots, will largely depend on the village's success in securing certain grants and further assessment of needs within the various village departments and the community, including the senior citizen population.
It was so great to see trophies, plaques and jackets received by proud Little Leaguers at ceremonies this past weekend at the playground. Over the years I have attended a lot of Little League awards for dinner and more recently award ceremonies at our recreation center. This year's program was different than those of other years. The award presentations and recognition began with a touching tribute to Bob Regan and a presentation to his wife, Donna. Bob was a member of the Little League Board and always made time to coach and support the many teams of young girls and boys. A scholarship fund has been established in Bob's honor.
This year's Breast Cancer Awareness Day was another success for the committee that worked so hard to organize the event. The weather was perfect and brought out individuals and families in support of a worthy cause. As a home care nurse I have seen the struggle and strength of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Today we have many methods to detect breast cancer such as breast self-examination, sonograms, mammographys and needle and surgical biopsies. Many women out of fear of detecting this disease in their own bodies do not perform monthly breast self-examinations nor do they have a mammogram on a regular basis. These fears only serve to impede early diagnosis and treatment. Women need to be aware of any family history of breast cancer and to discuss this information with a medical professional. We don't know how to prevent breast cancer, but early detection can save a life.
It's always fun to go to a fair and have a hot dog or two. Congratulations to the John Lewis Childs PTA for having a very successful outdoor event. There were a lot of generous attendees. I heard through the grapevine that $250 was raised for the Community Spirit Fund.
Seniors at Floral Park Memorial can't graduate without having the experience of their last homecoming weekend. Unfortunately, the annual event had to be postponed. It has always been fun to be part of homecoming, especially marching in the parade. Actually I didn't march, I just walked along and gabbed with School Board President Bob Burke and Floral Park Memorial's Principal Gloria O'Connor and I waved to the onlookers.
The parade stepped-off a little later than planned and the route was a little shorter than usual but teen spirit was at its expected peak. Along the route, a few trees decorated with white toilet paper streamers reminded me of my own high school days, the football games and the cheers. The parade of young people and a few of us older folks marched past a church in respectful silence. Eventually, the band began to play America and a sense of patriotism prevailed until the parade ended. It was worth the blister on my toe.
A thank you to local merchants, restaurant and other business owners for their support of the many nonprofit groups within the community. Without their support our youth, civic, school, church and service groups would not have successful raffles, fundraisers and newsletters.
I also thank them for supporting the rescue, search and recovery volunteers at Ground Zero. I can't list them all and all the good things they did in this message. I hope residents will personally say thanks by having lunch or dinner at one of our eateries or by shopping in our stores. Come and chat with our merchants at the Autumn Festival, sponsored by the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce and the New York Racing Association, coming up this Saturday, Oct. 20, from 3-7 p.m. Remember Tulip Avenue will be closed from 3-7 p.m. and no parking will be allowed starting at 1 p.m.
The Floral Park Fire Department will sponsor its annual Fire Prevention Day on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 12-3 p.m. in the vicinity of Village Hall. The Autumn Festival follows immediately at 3 p.m.
Firefighters consider fire prevention education as an integral part of their duty. Adults and children must have the opportunity to learn about fire and home safety. The day is a family fun day with a serious aspect. In the past, I've seen some awesome demonstrations by our volunteers that really get the attention of a crowd, especially the youngsters.
The FPFD has five companies that serve to protect lives and property within the village. Volunteers are needed so if interested, plan to talk to one of the firefighters on Fire Prevention Day and learn more about the training and the responsibilities.