KISMET: Across the Bay with MJ
By Marijane Voltz
The Bulkhead was up to some pirate mischief as they hosted their annual summer themed party. Last year they celebrated Christmas in July, where Santa even made an appearance, and the year before that, they were decked out in togas. With plenty of grub and grog and live entertainment prompting sea shanty sing-a-longs, there was little chance of mutiny on the Bulkhead. Jackie Baker even joined in the fun while channeling Jack Sparrow, as Tom DeCillis was made to walk the plank. Can’t wait to see what the Bulkhead comes up with next year!
Stewart McLaughlin is having the summer of all summers, as accolades keep coming his way. The Kismet Fire Department bestowed a plaque recognizing his 45 years of loyal service in July 13. Before that, the Rotary Club surprised Stu last June with a tremendous celebration at “La Famiglia”, compliments of Dana DeRuvo and Joe Hanner, honoring his 51 years of membership. When asked how he felt about his surprise, Stu responded by saying, “I was shocked!” and “I hope I don’t get anyone mad at me with all of these awards.” Relish in this moment Stu, it’s your time to shine!
On July 18, Pine Walk celebrated the first block party that Kismet has seen in years. Houses that participated in the fun had themes such as “Hawaii,” “Under the Sea,” and “The Hippies” to name a few. Don & Russ played their tunes, as Barry Pittman and friends made some room to dance. John Altieri expertly prepared barbecued delights, while “Paddy Shack” shared the wealth of their delicious clams.
During the Party, Eileen Rafferty made an announcement that whatever funds were leftover from the block party, would go towards Pine Walk’s donation to the North Shore LIJ Southside Hospital Pirate Fest fundraiser. It’s a fundraiser that’s been set up to benefit the medical assistance that everyone on Fire Island is privy to. Now that’s money well donated!
The Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim took place on July 17, with 97 swimmers on their mark. The swim begins at the Fire Island Lighthouse and finishes at Gilbert Park in Brightwaters. The distance is approximately 5.44 miles long with every swimmer having up to four hours to complete the feat.
The Swim has been a tradition on Long Island since 1927, taking a 26-year hiatus from 1973-1999. Rory Allen, lifelong Bay Shore resident, ferry captain and city firefighter, brought back the race in 1999, recruiting ocean lifeguards to take part in its revival. A few days before the swim, Maggie Fischer, a 17-year-old senior at St. Anthony’s H.S. and lifeguard in Saltaire, who had been training for the swim, passed away in a tragic car accident. With the race going on as planned, swimmers completed the challenge in the memory of Maggie, renaming the swim The Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim.
With 100 swimmers, 100 kayakers, a dozen boats to guide the way, endless volunteers and hundreds of spectators, this is a day that always brings the community together. Race director Bob Fischer (Maggie’s father) has quite the task ahead of him each year, but with the help of his wife, Mary, son, Chris and the Maggie Fischer GSBCBS committee, the event goes off without a hitch.
This year, a new record was set, as 16-year-old Morgan Wolfe, completed the race in 1:43:16.86. Morgan is from Manhattan and summers in Saltaire. His father was his proud kayaker who could taste victory in the last leg of the race. When asking Morgan how he felt about making this journey with his father, he responded by saying, “I could just see the excitement in my dad’s face.” Congratulations Morgan!
Second and third place went to Bryan Krut and Thomas Dolan, who finished with 1:45:01.66 and 1:45:36.52, great times. The first place winner in the women’s category, finishing with a time of !:58:53.55, was Cynthia Drum, an ocean guard on Fire Island who gave birth to her adorable baby girl, Nieve, just eight months ago. Cynthia’s husband, Shawn, also an ocean guard on F.I., swam a great race with a time of 2:01:30.45. Shawn is a member of the swim’s committee and lives in Kismet with his beautiful family. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments!
Other “Kisminites” to be hailed are Jesse Carew and his father Billy Carew, finishing in 2:41:10.48 and a 2:51:05.50. With Nancy Carew and son, Shayne Carew, as kayakers, Jesse and Billy had the guidance and encouragement needed to get across the bay. With cousin, Chris Carew, swimming nearby, with a time of 2:40:42.28, it was clearly a Carew family affair!
The swim is a fundraiser that raises money for Hospice Care Network’s Children and Family Bereavement Program, as well as establishing a scholarship at St. Anthony’s High School, in memory of Maggie Fischer. Every athlete has a reason for swimming the bay, whether it is in memory of a loved one, raising money for the charity or for their own sense of accomplishment; it is a day where memories are made.
Sad news for Kismet, as a great friend and neighbor, Bob Rush, passed away on July 5. Bob graduated from SUNY Maritime College in 1968, where he then became a merchant marine. One of the highlights of his life was being a part owner of the Out with good friend, Warren Lem. His last occupation was as mate aboard the Staten Island Ferry, where he was on board, but survived, the fatal crash of Oct. 15, 2003. Bob is survived by his daughter, Shannon, and three grandchildren and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
News tips you would like MJ to include in her column? Email her at email@example.com.
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