Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 08 January 2010 00:00
Westbury native Damon “Dave” Mock who, for more than two decades, was best known as the “voice” of the Green Dragons, passed away suddenly Dec. 26 from a heart attack. Mr. Mock, who had suffered a mild stroke in September 2009 that hindered his ability to communicate, was just 41 years old.
Mr. Mock had a varied media background that began some 26 years ago as a writer. In 1983, at the age of 15, Mr. Mock received his first paycheck for writing; it was at this time that he had an article on Castro Convertibles published in Advertising Age magazine. Later that same year, while a sophomore at Westbury High School, Mr. Mock became a staff writer for The Westbury Times, a publication that is part of Anton Community Newspapers. His relationship with the newspaper would last for 10 years, including four years as editor of the Times, and earn him several state and Long Island region journalism awards. He was also the recipient of a New York Press Association Writer of the Year award during a 1997 editorship of The Levittown Tribune, which is also part of Anton Community Newspapers.
“Those of us who were here during Dave’s years at Anton Community Newspapers have such fond memories of him,” said Cary Seaman, managing editor. “He was bright, talented, dedicated, with so much enthusiasm for the news business. When he moved on in his career, he would drop in now and then to visit his old friends here. We’ll miss those visits with him.”
Michael Maloney, who attended Hofstra University with Mr. Mock and later worked alongside him at Anton Community Newspapers, added, “I was always inspired by his dedication to his craft and his community. No one I know has ever worked harder or cared more about covering his beat as fully and fairly as Dave. Journalism has lost one of its best practitioners.”
While he undoubtedly excelled in the newspaper industry, Mr. Mock’s success was not just limited to print journalism.
In 1987, as a student at Hofstra, he began his career in radio working as a writer for a morning show on WRHU-FM, a Hempstead-based public radio station owned by Hofstra. He would stay at the station for nearly nine years, first as a Hofstra student, then as a staff member, serving as a news director, anchor and producer of the station’s island-wide election night broadcasts before establishing the Island Radio News Network – a network of stations to carry WRHU’s Election Night broadcasts. The network included commercial station WGBB and public broadcaster WBAU.
During the 1990s, Mr. Mock also worked as promotions and marketing director for WMJC in Melville and, in December 1997, began working as a writer and tape operator for CBS radio. His career at CBS would span the next 12 years as he moved up the ranks, serving as a radio reporter, producer and news editor.
A member and president of Westbury High School’s Class of 1986 and creator of the school district’s alumni Facebook page, Mr. Mock remained loyal to his hometown, specifically his alma mater, even after relocating to Rockville Centre.
“Dave … is the reason that many, if not all of us, have reconnected with many of our classmates here in New York and all over the United States,” said Robin L. Garrison Bolling, who was also a member of Westbury’s Class of 1986. “He recruited the rest of us to be a part of his vision and dream of our alumni association becoming an independent, non-profit alumni corporation chartered by the New York State government and run independent of the district by the alumni of Westbury High School.”
Mr. Mock’s dedication to his hometown – and broadcasting - did not end there. Best known locally as the “voice” of Westbury High School Green Dragons, he was often found, mic in hand, at various school district events. He served as the emcee for Westbury High School’s annual Homecoming celebration as well as public address announcer for varsity football and basketball games. Mr. Mock was also selected by New York Public High School Athletic Association to be the Section VIII (Nassau County) announcer of boys’ basketball playoff games.
“Dave was a consummate professional. He would obtain rosters of teams days in advance so that he could perfect the pronunciation of each player’s last name and, on game day, he reported to Westbury High School hours before the game so he could review any details and be updated with any new information,” said Doric Capsis, athletic director for the Westbury School District, adding, “Dave called the games with objectivity and clarity. Opposing fans would come to me at the conclusion of almost every game and compliment our announcer for his professionalism … [he] carried out this duty magnificently and again was often complimented for his fairness and professionalism.”
Garrison Bolling added, “His commitment and dedication to Westbury has been evident ever since I’ve known him from high school to adulthood … He always was thinking of his classmates, community, or getting the story done. He lived his life as a true reporter and commentator, always giving the people what they wanted – the facts and only the facts. He reported on everything and all things Westbury; he could describe things and make you think you were really there.”
Most recently, Mr. Mock was president and CEO of the Rockville Centre-based Green and Gold (G&G) Communications Incorporated, which he founded in 2008. Through G&G, Mr. Mock set out to put his more than two decades of experience as an announcer, producer, reporter and promotions and marketing director to good use. Through his company, Mr. Mock often donated his time, expertise and service to Westbury, creating fliers on upcoming Westbury athletic events to promote greater attendance and bring more attention to Westbury’s student-athletes.
For Capsis, it is hard to imagine not seeing Dave Mock on the field or hearing his voice echo through the loudspeakers at Westbury High School home games. “Dave will be missed by anyone who ever heard his voice. It was the best,” said Capsis.
Dr. Constance Clark-Snead, superintendent of Westbury Schools, agreed, stating, Mr. Mock “was a wonderful individual who loved Westbury and volunteered his time over the years to announce all of our football games. He will be sorely missed by our community. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.”
Mr. Mock is survived by his mother, Westbury High School Class of 1962 Alumnus Myrna Mock-Cohen, and a nephew, Kenneth Mock. Following the death of his grandmother three years ago, Mr. Mock expressed his personal wishes to be cremated. In following through with her only child’s wishes, Ms. Mock-Cohen has organized a memorial service for 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Westbury Community Church, 700 Prospect Avenue.
“I knew how much he loved Westbury, communications and journalism. I want to make sure his memorial reflects all of these things,” said Ms. Mock-Cohen.
Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to attend the memorial service as well as post thoughts, memories and prayers on Facebook.com (search Dave Mock – In Memoriam). The page is dedicated to Mr. Mock in recognition of the “lasting impression on everyone he met as a journalist, colleague, mentor, teacher, student and friend.”