Sunday, New Year’s Eve, I turned off the TV and headed to bed soon after watching the ball drop in Times Square. But this unusually low-key start to 2018 was necessary, for by lunchtime the next day, I’d covered the Inaugurations of three Democrats – LAURA CURRAN, LAURA GILLEN, and SYLVIA CABANA – replacing three GOP office holders here in Nassau County.
Though it was New Year’s Day morning, close to a packed house at Hofstra University’s Adams Playhouse watched New York Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE swear-in Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and Hon. MICHAELLE SOLAGES swear-in Hempstead Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana.
Hempstead, New York, USA. Jan. 1, 2018. NYS Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL (in green dress) and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE (seen partly behind podium) swear-in LAURA GILLEN (center) as Hempstead Town Supervisor, at Hofstra University. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)
U.S. Senator CHUCK SCHUMER was a speaker at both the Town of Hempstead and County County Inaugural ceremonies.
About an hour after that, and even though it was a bone-chilling 14 ℉ / -10 ℃, a thick arc of bundled-up onlookers stood thisclose together in front of the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building to witness Gov. ANDREW CUOMO administer the Oath of Office to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
It was a doubly historic day for Long Island. Before Laura Gillen took office, Town of Hempstead hadn’t had a Democratic Supervisor in over a century; plus, Laura Curran is the very first female Nassau County Executive.
Town of Hempstead/Nassau County Inaugurations: VIDEO
Yesterday, I read the exciting news that Long Island’s own Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums will participate in the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017.
Originally known as “Fir Na Tine” (Gaelic: Men of Fire), it’s America’s first Volunteer Firefighter Pipe Band, and has performed widely, including at St. Patrick’s Day parades, at halftime shows for NY Jets, and band members were the 11 Pipers Piping in a Christmas commercial.
Also, Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums has been an inspiring, stirring part of many memorials and benefits. In spring 2012, I covered the band when it played at the Ray Pfeifer Benefit at the East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall. Retired FDNY firefighter and Hicksville resident Ray Pfeifer is a true profile in courage, perseverance, and brotherhood.
FYI From Long Island: After the 9/11/2001 Twin Towers terrorist attacks, Ray Pfeifer helped recovery efforts at Ground Zero, and by 2008 was battling cancer. Pfeifer – along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, Representatives Peter King and Carolyn Maloney, and others – helped make sure the 2010 James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act was eventually extended to 2090, establishing the “World Trade Center Health Program.”
When the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band participates in the Inauguration Parade in a few weeks, it will be continuing its mission of proudly representing the Nassau County Fire Service.
To help the band reach its $10,000 goal to cover transportation & lodging costs for its 40+ members, the band manager created and runs a gofundme fundraiser: “Presidential Inauguration Parade” for the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums.
Photo Video of Ray Pfeifer Fundraiser, with Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums music:
And I send sincere thanks to Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums, esp. Band Manager Alan Jacoby, for permission to use their music in above photo video of 2012 Firefighter Ray Pfeifer Benefit.
UPDATE 1/18/2107: $17K+ of revised $20K goal has been raised by band’s gofundme campaign. [NOTE: This post’s link to band’s gofundme page removed after end of 2017.]