By Barbara Gaby Placilla

The assembled crowd at Hurricanes, in the Fire Island Hotel, witnessed history being made on June 6, 2015. And in case you were on another planet, that was the day that American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. It was also the day that the Harris-Byrnes team or the Supples did not win any of the pools, and the day we won three, to take their own triple crown! This is a friendly rivalry that has been going on since the Triple Crown races went from house to house beginning with Harry Hanbury’s Kentucky Derby Party and ending with Bruce Martin’s Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately both men have since passed, but I can assure you that Robbie and Tom as well as Pat and Mike have been winning since then, and ours was just an aberration. Thank you to Don Eschmann and Patty Loesch for keeping the tradition alive, and thanks for the calories, Chef Melissa, you outdid yourself with the food.

Don’t cry for either Tom Byrnes or Pat Supple as they each went on to win “drinks for life” (Luke LaPenna’s words, not mine) in the form of Flynn’s sweatshirts. Not a bad consolation prize.

Speaking of Chef Melissa, the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished” really is true. The June wedding season is ramping up so Melissa decided to clean some of the nautical and fishing related décor in the Hurricanes Bar. While cleaning some netting, she somehow managed to become the actual “catch of the day” when a large fishhook became imbedded in her neck. The EMS arrived from Ocean Beach and she was transported via SCPD Marine boat to Good Samaritan Hospital where the hook was removed. She was patched up and came back to Ocean Bay Park. Little did Melissa know that two of the ER nurses who work at Good Sam, Gina Innes and Nick Petrella, are getting married at the Hotel on June 27, and that she is catering their event! Nick was working in the ER that day, but did not know that Melissa was there.

Later on that week, the “six degrees of separation” continued, when Nick and Gina came back to OBP and were at my house to finalize the details of their wedding cake. Nick has managed most of the details of the wedding from day one, so that Gina could recover from back surgery and finish her nurse practitioner certification. I was quite impressed with how detail-oriented and organized Nick’s wedding binder is, but still he has not become a “groomzilla” in the process. The next day Nick and his groomsmen had a bachelor luncheon at Flynn’s.

The refurbishment of the plantings along the Bay Walk has started. The Ocean Bay Park Association has planted multiple varieties of junipers and vitex along the walk, from Superior to Cayuga, to augment the exiting plantings. Since it was a cold spring, we are waiting to see which plants are still viable and those that are not, will be replaced. Vitex and silver lace vine have been planted along the fencing by the ferry terminal, and planter boxes have been ordered. These will be installed in the coming weeks. Thanks to the Curry’s who have provided water via the Schooner for the sprinklers abutting their property. However, if you notice that any of the new plants are in need, please water them, especially if you are one of the homeowners along the bay walk. The more water the new plants get, the more likely they will thrive. Thanks to the OBP Association for its continued efforts to make Ocean Bay Park the best town on Fire Island. Please join if you are not already a member as your dues go towards keeping the beach and streets clean for all of us.

On June 13, the OBP FD Auxiliary sponsored a community Health Fair in conjunction with Stony Brook University Medical Center. Stony Brook is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Suffolk County and is also the Regional Trauma Center for Long Island. It is where you are taken by helicopter off the island in the event of traumatic injury or serious illness.

The morning began with the threat of a storm but the clouds passed and it was a beautiful, sunny day. Midway through the set up (thank you Auxiliary members Ric Anderson, Lynn Van de Water, and Ken Klein) a fire alarm came in. Since 1st Assistant Chief, Lawrence Mattiasen had already moved the trucks out of the truck bay, all the first responders had to do was suit-up and jump on the rigs. The call came in as Cayuga and Traffic and when they got there, it turned out to be a “bikinis and burnt bacon” incident. The occupants were cooking bacon in their bathing suits and things got a little out of hand!

We were so impressed with the team from Stony Brook, which was led by Kristi Ladowski. Everyone was a volunteer with representatives from Trauma, the Burn Unit, Safe Kids, Ambulatory Surgery Center, just to name a few. They provided valuable information on water safety and drowning prevention, teen drug use, alcohol abuse, bicycle safety and concussion awareness, sun safety, distracted driving, blood pressure screening, hands only CPR training and more. There was something for everyone including great giveaways: sunscreen, first aid kits and neoprene water pouches. Two of the most popular exhibits were the Shelby the egg, who wears helmet, vs. Humpty Dumpty, who does not, that demonstrated what happens to your brain upon impact with a hard surface and Sparky’s Hazard House, which teaches children about inherent household dangers and fire safety awareness. My youngest grandson, Caleb, went through at least a dozen eggs demonstrating what happens to Humpty when he doesn’t wear a helmet. All the kids loved this exhibit. I was especially proud that Caleb knew to “stop, drop and roll” in event his clothes catch fire. My son, Chris, an FDNY firefighter, taught him well. On the adult side, it was a sobering experience and I was completely blown away when I put on the “impairment goggles” and tried to walk the line. I was also shocked to learn how little alcohol it actually takes to become impaired.

On behalf of the OBP FD Auxiliary, a big thanks to Stony Brook, and all the volunteers who gave up their Saturday to provide us with such valuable information. I will keep the dialog open with our contacts at Stony Brook, including Jane McCormack, trauma program manager on ways to continue this event. Also thank you also to my neighbor, Catherine Catanese, registered dental hygienist, who provided toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental hygiene literature. And as always, thank you to the Auxiliary members who continue to serve our community.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you can tell that summer is really just around the corner, so I want to sign off by wishing a very Happy Birthday to my dear friends and fellow Gemini’s: Ellie Mal, Rene Bodkin and Rachelle King. Blow out the candles and have a great day!

Ocean Bay Park news you wish to share with Barbara? Email her at oceanbaypark@fireisland-news.com.

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