A Good Night with the Graybeards

 A Good Night with the Graybeards

By Katie McFadden

It was a night of good people honoring people who’ve done good, all to raise money to help good people do more good things. It was the 22nd Annual Graybeards Dinner, of course.

On Saturday night, February 3, Rockaway gathered at The Rockaway Hotel to celebrate all things good with an organization that does so much for the community—the Graybeards. And they had a few special community members to recognize.

This year’s Don “D.H.” Hart Memorial Award recognized some who’ve conducted an ultimate act of selflessness last year—donating a kidney. Each year, the Graybeards give out the Don Hart award in memory of a fellow Graybeard, who was one to always rise to a challenge, no matter how big or small. From assisting those in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, to volunteering for spring spruce ups and other projects, Hart was always at the ready with his tool bag in hand. Hart passed away in 2008 and today the award is given in his name, to a special community member that also rises to meet any challenge. In 2023, both Meghan Long and Mike Coughlin rose to the challenge by going under the knife as living donors, to give Timothy Rudolph and Father Jim Cunningham another chance at life. Both Long and Coughlin were joined by family and friends to celebrate the honor.

This year’s Tom Ryan Memorial Award went to St. Mary’s Food Pantry. This award, considered to be a special recognition award, is given in honor of a special Graybeard—Tom Ryan. Known as “the best of the best”, Ryan was strong mentor to many, giving advice to those who sought it, and actively serving the SFDS parish. This award was named in Tom Ryan’s honor after he passed in 2017 and is usually given to a local organization that strives to better the community. St. Mary’s Star of the Sea runs a food pantry in Far Rockaway to feed neighbors in need. The Graybeards work closely with the organization each year, collecting donations to help keep the pantry stocked around the holidays. Father Joseph Miller accepted the award on behalf of St. Mary’s on Saturday.

Frank Siller, CEO of Tunnel to Towers, was also on hand to accept a check from Eugene Brennan, who was able to successfully raise $55,000 through Stockings for a Cause, which will go towards building a smart home for wounded veteran, Jason Walker.

Another big winner was the lucky Pot o’ Gold winner. The whopping $300,000 jackpot went to a lucky winner from Breezy Point. But it was a good night for all at the cocktail party where guests enjoyed food, drinks, dancing and more.


 Photos by Jessica Woods.

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