The Johnny Mac Foundation will honor the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library at its “14th Wish Gala” at the Stonebridge Country Club in Hauppauge on Saturday, February 8 at 7:00 pm.
The event will include cocktails, dinner, dancing, and raffles. Tickets are $150, with a number of sponsorship opportunities available ranging in cost from $500 to $2,500.
The Johnny Mac Foundation has a dual mission: to aid first responders, and to support the local community. The Foundation assists 9/11 first responders and first responder organizations and provides aid when needs arise in the local community. Community involvement includes helping neighbors in difficult financial circumstances as a result of unanticipated events.
The foundation is named in honor of FDNY firefighter John F. McNamara of Blue Point. Mr. McNamara was a first responder who engaged in more than 500 hours of rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. In August 2009, he died at age 44 from cancer contracted as a result of his efforts.
As his health declined, Mr. McNamara had made a list of final wishes, including the desire to have a community center built in Blue Point. The Foundation’s leaders said the center was also intended to serve as “a cornerstone of the community, family, and camaraderie.”
In fulfillment of his wishes, the Bayport-Blue Point Library Board last August voted to lease the cottage on the former St. Ursuline Center property to the Johnny Mac Foundation. The Library purchased the property last year and will begin construction this spring on a new, expanded library facility.
“There were few things as important to John as his community. John was grateful to live in a community that cared so deeply about our kids, teens, and young adults,” said Jennifer McNamara, the founder and president of the Foundation, who is also Mr. McNamara’s widow. “The Bayport-Blue Point Public Library’s devotion to community service aligns perfectly with John’s vision of a better community. The Library is helping me to help make John’s dream come true.”
“John McNamara’s personal courage was matched only by his love of the Bayport-Blue Point community,” said Ronald Devine, library board president. “Everyone involved with the Library is proud to associate themselves with his inspiring example. It’s very gratifying to be recognized by this wonderful, community-spirited organization.”
In addition to facilitating the creation of the community center, the Library has joined forces with the foundation to co-host events and programming that serve as platforms for community uplift.
Last September, Rohan Murphy – a nationally recognized youth speaker – gave an inspirational talk at the Library. In October, retired New York Mets All-Star Ed Kranepool recounted his seventeen-year career as a member of the “Miracle Mets,” especially the 1969 World Series championship season. And in November, Bayport resident Ray Cooney – a retired firefighter and host of the popular TV show “Firehouse Kitchen” – shared both recipes and stories of firefighting heroism.