The Middle Island Civic Association was a proud co-sponsor of two important Longwood community events this fall: the Veterans Day Commemoration and Name Unveiling Ceremony on November 11th, and the 100th Birthday Celebration of Donald Bayles on December 3rd.
The Veterans Day ceremony took place at Bartlett Pond Park on a beautiful sunny Saturday, on 11/11 at 11. The park was filled with Veterans, active military and family members. Over 120 newly engraved names were unveiled across four of the monuments there: the Civil Way, World War I, Vietnam and the Global War on Terror. Keynote speakers were Colonel Kevin Hicks and Chief Petty Officer Ebonnie Goodfield, both retired, each of whom spoke on the importance of providing services to our Veterans. After the emotional name unveilings and wreath placements at all the Longwood memorials, Veterans present were called forward to be thanked by members of the Longwood Central School District, the Board of Education and our appreciative community. Medals, hates and patriotic star cookies, prepared by Longwood students, were presented to each Longwood Veteran, active military person or a family representative. The beautiful color program for this event described the Longwood Veterans Walk and History Project and also listed the many business donors who helped finance the engravings and ceremony.
The unveiler of the names on both the Civil War and WWI monument was none other than Mr. Donald M. Bayles, whose 100th birthday was celebrated at the Longwood Public Library three weeks after Veterans Day. Mr. Bayles was born in Middle Island on Dec 10, 1923 and grew up locally. He is a World War II Longwood Veteran, decorated after being wounded in action, who married his Coram sweetheart Virginia “Doris” Fearon. They lived in Coram for decades before retiring to Southold. Both the Fearon and Bayles families were instrumental in the establishment of the Longwood Public Library, and Donald followed in his historian grandfather’s and father’s footsteps by becoming a local history author. Many of his books were on display for his community birthday party at LPL on Sunday afternoon, December 3rd. Donald and Doris greeted some old friends and neighbors, and everyone enjoyed birthday cake and reminiscing. Donald received proclamations from US Congressman Nick LaLota, NYS Senator Anthony Palumbo, and SC Legislator Sarah Anker, as well as a photo collage from the Longwood Community. Newsday and News12 interviewed Donald at length as well!