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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

A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.

 

“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua. 

 

For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February. 

On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown. 

While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.


Sports

The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally. 

 

The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

 

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


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