Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00
Two homeless men have taken up residency under the Hicksville train station overpass between East Marie Street and East Nicholai, according to Hicksville resident and former U.S. Navy Chief (Ret.) Roy Tringali.
A resident of Hicksville for 53 years, Tringali said he was on his way home from church several Sundays ago and noticed two men sitting near the Long Island Rail Road’s Hicksville station underpass. Tringali approached one of the men, struck up a conversation and learned that both of the homeless men were veterans.
Tringali, a retired U.S. Navy Chief and member of several Hicksville civic groups, said he “took him for his word” and began making some phone calls to see how he could help once he arrived back home.
After calling the Second Precinct, Tringali was directed to the MTA Police, then to an agent at the Hicksville train station, then to another policeman, who told Tringali to try the Town of Oyster Bay. Later the MTA called back and said they’d investigate the situation and possibly relocate the men.
“Sure enough he wasn’t there, but I came back the next day and he was back,” said Tringali, who said he felt a little like their family once he began sharing hot soup and coffee that he brought them.
Tringali then tried reaching out to Assemblyman Michael Montesano but he was out of his office. Tringali also inquired with the Hicksville Fire Station, which sits adjacent to the parking lot, and a representative there said the firefighters weren’t aware of the situation.
“What I’m really disappointed in is how nobody seems concerned. They’re human beings and it’s a reflection on Hicksville. Everybody seems to ignore them,” Tringali said.
Next, Tringali called Operation Warm Bed (Nassau County Social Services), who agreed to accept the veterans, provided that transportation could be arranged.
“Most families don’t have the transportation, never mind a guy on the street,” Tringali said.
Tringali also tried County Executive Edward Mangano’s office, where a representative said they require two week’s notice to arrange transportation if no emergency is present.
And now that the extended fall has given way to the familiar chill of a Long Island winter, Tringali recently took matters into his own hands.
“I brought a jacket, gave him an extra blanket and an air mattress I had from when I used to go camping. It seems to be falling through the cracks, who takes the responsibility? Even the police on the beat, it’s not on their radar. I’m just trying to give a wake-up call,” said Tringali, who, as of Jan. 20, was waiting on calls of his own to be returned.