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Hometown Heroes Are Hard To Find

New Hyde Park Fixture Diana Biehayn honored by Town of North Hempstead

It takes a village to raise a child is a much-used trope/African proverb that was recycled as part of the title of a 1996 Hillary Rodham-Clinton-penned book. In the case of recent Hometown Hero recipient Diana Biehayn, her selfless participation in the local Girl Scouts troop and countless other organizations have very much made her a New Hyde Park community stalwart. But for all the accolades she gets for her mostly unsung efforts, the Queens native is shyly modest about it all.

“[Public service] just evolved from when my daughter was in Girl Scouts and I moved along with her,” Biehayn explained with a smile. “I went to Queens College as an adult and my major was sociology, so it just seems to be my calling. I never used it professionally, but I used it in my everyday life.”

Since moving to the village in 1968, the former Woodside resident not only raised a daughter and son, but donated time to a myriad of local institutions ranging from the local chapters of AARP and FISH (Friends In Service to Humanity) to the Lions Club and Meals on Wheels.

It’s exactly this combination of selflessness and humility that led to Town of North Hempstead Town Clerk Leslie Gross making this beaming grandmother her latest Hometown Hero.

“It’s amazing and I know that phrase that says if you need to get something done, give it to a busy person. And you’re very humble and I think most of the people that I choose as honorees are this way. You haven’t done these things I’m sure just so that there might be a plaque to hang on the wall,” Gross explained before bestowing the award in her office. “The people that are the busiest really get so much done. And I know you don’t think about it—you [get involved] because you love doing it. That’s a true hometown hero.”

It’s a sentiment daughter Loretta proudly agrees with and is quick to point out that it all starts with Biehayn’s immediate family.

“She makes every single home volleyball game at New Hyde Park Memorial High School whether I go or not. She makes it to the football games,” Loretta explained. “Whatever my girls were involved with, both my mom and dad come down, but my dad is passed. But my mom keeps marching and doing. She gives food to neighbors that are sick and she’s just always trying to help.”

Bob Simon, another New Hyde Park resident heavily involved with local organizations and has been volunteering alongside Biehayn for a number of years, can attest to his friend’s dedication.

“It’s hard to keep up with her. Every time I opened up the paper, I saw her picture, always doing something,” Simon said before adding. “Diana is a pillar of the New Hyde Park community.”

For the immediate future, aside from being her grandchildren’s biggest cheerleader, Diana Biehayn doesn’t see herself slowing up anytime soon.

“The [folks I help] are very nice and interesting people. People that have lived a lot longer than me, which is really long,” she said with a laugh “But as long as I can, I will keep going.”

News

The Village of New Hyde Park will soon hear Manhattan businessman Sam Chan’s proposal to open a 84-seat hibachi-style restaurant at 1215 Jericho Tpke. in New Hyde Park, the former spot of the maligned Empire Billiards Hall. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

“The board will be hearing the case for restaurant usage,” Mayor Robert Lofaro said. “This will also have to go before the zoning board. They will likely hear the case.”

A fatal car accident on Tuesday, Aug. 19 that claimed the life of a 55-year-old man on Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park could fast-track a $250,000 Nassau County project announced last month to install traffic calming features along the road. The project would run north from Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park, south to Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

“The project is already ongoing and will continue to progress,” said Nassau County Department of Public Works rep Michael Martino.


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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