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Remembering NCO McNaughton

Hundreds gather annually to remember the life of fallen soldier, police office

For almost a decade, friends, family, Police Departments and the United States Army have been showing their support and gratitude for fallen hero, James D. McNaughton, a former U.S. soldier and NYPD officer, who was killed in Iraq in 2005. McNaughton’s best friend, Vinny Zecca, has been organizing a benefit concert and fundraising event at Mulcahy’s Music Hall in Wantagh for the past seven years. Both local performers and the New York Shields Pipes and Drums Band have requested each year to participate in McNaughton’s honor. Slide shows and poster boards displayed photographs of him from his childhood up to his time in the army, giving attendees a glimpse into the life of someone who sacrificed his life for his country. 

McNaughton’s former sergeants and command officers all agreed that they watched him grow from a shy, quiet NCO to an outspoken and responsible senior NCO after a mere two months. Retired Maj. Command Sgt. Mike Donohue said McNaughton always had the moral authority and respect of the other soldiers. “Jimmy was always out in the front, never hiding,” he said. The mission that led to his death was something for which McNaughton had no prior experience.” 

“He volunteered for the mission and even though he never had done a job like that before, he excelled,” said Donohue. 

Commanding Officer John Hussey, who worked with McNaughton for two years, described him as an old school soldier who lived the army values. “Jimmy was a true leader and took his tasks very seriously,” he said. 

McNaughton is an inspiration to many who had the opportunity of working closely with him. First Class Sgt. Patrick Venetek, a close friend and fellow soldier became an NYPD Officer because of him. “He was all business, all work,” Venetek said. “The reason who I am today is because of Jimmy.” 

Sergeant Catarino Rodriquez visits McNaughton at Calverton Cemetery twice a year and described him as someone who has a lasting impact on many soldiers who are currently serving. “Guys still bring their children to see Jimmy at the cemetery and some have even named their children after him,” Rodriguez said. 

All the money raised will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, to the Long Island 9-1-1 Veterans, to the James McNaugton Foundation and to victims of Hurricane Sandy.


News

More than 475 runners from all across Long Island, came together on Aug. 30, for the tenth annual Companions in Courage one-mile run.

 

For Andrea Kopatka, 49, of Levittown, this was her first race in three years. 

 

“I wanted to run this race before I turned 50,” she said. “It was on my bucket list.” 

Over the summer, 13-year-old Zachary Martin of Levittown was named an All-American athlete for his performance on the gridiron, earning him an invitation to the ninth annual Offense-Defense Youth All-American Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

 

Martin, a defensive lineman for the Wisdom Lane Middle School Wildcats, said he was selected among a group of young athletes after attending a rigorous five-day football camp at LIU Post.  


Sports

The National Brain Tumor Society hosts its Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Michelle Duffy of Levittown was recently named head coach for the Blue Angels’ cross country program at the College of New Rochelle. 

 

“We are very pleased to have a coach with Michelle’s pedigree take the reins of our cross country program,” said Athletics Director Harold Crocker. “Her success athletically and academically, as well as her ability to mentor and guide young women, makes her the ideal coach for the Blue Angels.”


Calendar

Levittown Board of Ed - September 10

Patriot Day - September 11

Annual Country Fair  - September 13


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com