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Purple Heart Recipient Chosen For Free Wedding

Marine Sgt. Ryan Donnelly, fiancée Tina McGrory, a U.S. Army vet, will exchange vows at Viana Hotel and Spa

Following two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Marine Sgt. Ryan Donnelly, a Purple Heart recipient, was chosen as the winner of the free wedding contest at the Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury. 

Donnelly, who attended Newfield High School in Selden and was the school’s top male athlete in 2002, will exchange vows with fiancée Tina McGrory, a U.S. Army veteran, on March 16. 

“The idea of giving back to those who served our country, and fought for us, seemed the right thing to do,” said Frank Frisone, Manager at TD Bank in Westbury and president of the Westbury-Carle Place Chamber of Commerce. 

An improvised explosive device (IED) struck Donnelly’s Humvee during his last tour of duty in Iraq in 2005. Following weeks of infection, his right leg was amputated above the knee. 

Donnelly, who works in the LI Local 200 Plumber’s Union apprenticeship program, said he enlisted in the Marines to “help preserve the American way of life.” 

Donnelly and McGrory will receive a bridal gown, reception for up to 50 people, hotel rooms for the couple and their out of town guests, flowers, DJ, video and photo services and party favors – all free of charge, thanks to the generosity of local sponsors. 

Viana Hotel and Spa is an environmentally efficient luxury hotel that opened at 3998 Brush Hollow Road in Westbury in October 2011. 

Rafael Encarnacion and Jessica Allain, runner-up winners, will receive a free night and breakfast at the Viana Hotel, among other gifts. Encarnacion, a NYPD officer, served two tours in Iraq and is scheduled to go back for a third. He and his fiancée are expecting their first child. 

“Both couples we chose are very deserving. The small community businesses that make up the Westbury-Carle Place Chamber of Commerce were only too happy to take part in furnishing the event,” Frisone added. 

This past June, Donnelly and his fiancée were given an affordable home in Lake Ronkonkoma, thanks to Brookhaven Town, Suffolk County and LI Home Builders Care Development Corp. 

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he was honored “to give back to our military community and to help one lucky couple start their lives together in a very special way.” 


Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.


In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.


“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.

The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9. 


Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.  


Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray. 


The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.

Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.


Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group.  She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group.  Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.


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