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Plainview Veteran Celebrated

Thousands of Long Islanders streamed into Burn Park in Massapequa recently for the Town of Oyster Bay’s annual Salute to America concert featuring Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pop Orchestra with fireworks by Grucci.

The event paid tribute to veterans, past and present, and honored three deserving honorees: Guillermo Torres, Plainview’s Robert Reahl and Barbara Tortorice.

Torres is the winner of the Town’s Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award. A Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Torres was wounded while on maneuvers.

He later served on veteran organizations for more than 17 years, including the board of directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82 for 10 years, and is the senior vice commander of the William Gouse Post 3211 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is also the senior vice commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 417.

Robert E. Reahl, a Plainview resident, was the recipient of the Town’s Veteran Volunteer of the Year. A Navy veteran of the Korean War, Reahl is a member of the American Legion Post 1812 in Plainview and is past commander of the Nassau County American Legion. He was the Post Legionnaire of the Year 2014-2015. Reahl volunteers at the VA nursing home and hospital as well as the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter. He has been involved in collecting items needed for the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been very active in the community reaching out to those veterans and families who are in need.

Barbara Tortorice is the winner of the Non-Veteran Volunteer Award. She is a member of the American Legion Auxillary Archie McCord Post #86 in Bethpage. She has volunteered as committee chairperson for many projects benefiting veterans, soldiers and children, both for the Archie McCord Post in Bethpage and the Nassau County American Legion Auxillary. She regularly attends the “Stand Down” which helps veterans receive assistance securing benefits, job counseling, legal advice, clothes, food, haircuts, medical screening and enrolling in the VA health care system.

Each honoree was awarded a gold medal from town officials along with a proclamation by the town officials.

Prior to the event, Paul Masi of Bethpage, a marine who served in Vietnam, shared these thoughts of how the town of Oyster bay treats it veterans.

“They are all behind us and its great to be loved by a lot of people in our community,” he said. “Nassau County has well over 100,000 vets. That’s a large number of people who served and sacrificed. For me as a Vietnam vet, I am glad to see that they are supportive. Back then, we were public enemy number one to the people who didn’t like what was going on. You are only serving your country and doing your job and no one knows what is going to happen. We did what we had to do and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial is built and that honors all of us who served and died.”

Legislator Michael Venditto and Assemblyman Joseph Saladino handed out awards and later mingled with the crowd handing out flags, thanking many veterans for their service.

“On this beautiful evening we are here to honor these men and women who served and sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy our lives,” said Venditto. “The only reason why we are here tonight and able to enjoy all of our concerts and all of our freedoms in the town is because of their efforts.”

Saladino praised the efforts of Venditto for bringing these concerts and entertainment to the community.

“The music tonight is fabulous and everybody is very happy to have an inexpensive way to stay home and enjoy this world class entertainment and fireworks,” he said. “It’s great to be home in Massapequa and the freedoms we enjoy are because of our wonderful veterans.”

Robert Lane of Massapequa Park was manning the booth for AMVETS and explained that this is the only organization in Nassau County that accepts all veterans, both those that served in foreign wars and stayed stateside.

As the sun slowly settled on the horizon and the full moon rose, Teddy Roosevelt, aka James W. Foote., a Navy Veteran (1968-72) from Sea Cliff walked among the crowd.

“I have been dressing up as Teddy Roosevelt for 32 years and this is how I make my living,” he said. “I do this because I look like him and I enjoy history.”

The sky darkened and the crowd was treated to a spectacular display of Grucci fireworks along with patriotic songs played by the Concert Pops Orchestra, marking another spectacular event put on by the Town Of Oyster Bay.


Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29


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