A group of residents who came together after tragedy in Huntington Station celebrated their fourth anniversary Thursday and announced plans to support other causes in the community.
Huntington Matters welcomed political leaders, police representatives, including the Suffolk County Police Second Precinct commander, Inspector William Scrima, and Police Officer Angela Ferrara, and other community organizers to a party at Marco’s on Pulaski Road. Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer, Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol were among those who addressed the crowd. Also on hand were Town Councilman Gene Cook and State Assemb. Steve Stern.
The group got its start after the murder of Maggie Rosales in October 2014, Two other previous homicides, that of Sarah Strobel in 2013 and Daniel Carbajal, who was killed in July 2014, fed the anger that led the group to organize to fix problems in the Station.
They chose Marco’s, which opened in 2017 on the site of the vacant Conte’s Burger Haven, closed since 2008.
“Marco’s is the physical manifestation of the progress in Huntington Station over the last four years,” June Margolin of Huntington Matters said. Marco’s owner Steve Camas “definitely took a chance on us. This isn’t just Huntington Matters. This is definitely a victory.”
Margolin described the work that went into improving relations with the Second Precinct with the launch of numerous Neighborhood Watch groups, improved communication with police, and increased patrols, noting that Officer Ferrara decided to take a lunch break each day by parking her cruiser at the Five Corners intersection to let residents know the department was on the job.
Xavier Palacios noted that the Station is “a lovely community, and one that has always been an immigrant community. This is only the beginning,” Palacios said. He noted that as a child, he was reminded by neighbors reminding him of his curfew and generally keeping an eye on him.
Spencer said, “This is a community joined together by love. You did it by hard work,” he said. “You refused to hear the word ‘No’, he said. “There have been times when it looked as if there were dark days ahead. You had a plan for the future. I am such a proud member of this community.”
Cergol said, “This is a testimony of how tragedy can bring a community together. There has been remarkable progress, remarkable changes. We need to applaud what you’ve done so far.”
The group plans to expand its efforts by providing funds to other groups or causes serving the community. It will fund donations through the acceptance of advertising on Facebook and through the sale of branded goods. Members of the group will vote on recipients.
About 60 local businesses donated raffle items to the celebration.