HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, July 31
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Huntington Awareness Day has its grand marshals, and they’re knockouts – in more ways than one.
Chris Algieri, World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion from Greenlawn; Anthony “Tony” Mastroianni, resident of Huntington Station known for his time as Huntington Republican chairman; and Thomas Jerideau, longtime president of the Whitman Village Cooperative Board, will all be honored on Sep. 6 as the fair and parade celebrates its fifth annual venture.
“Huntington is proud of the contributions Chris, Tony and Tom have made to our town and we are thrilled that they will be leading the annual parade celebrating the community we all love,” Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, co-chair of the event, said. “I hope people will line New York Avenue to show their appreciation, and then visit the fair that gets bigger and better every year.”
Beginning at 11 a.m. the parade will run through Huntington Station from West Hills Road, down New York Avenue and to the pedestrian plaza at Olive Street. After the parade, a fair promising appearances from local artists and booths with crafts and services will be held in the municipal parking lot between Railroad and Church streets.
According to Petrone, those named as grand marshals will receive a plaque and a proclamation from the town along with marching in the parade and being honored during a ceremony at the fair.
“The whole idea is that we select someone from yesteryear and someone who I call a new ‘celebrity,’” said Dolores Thompson, also co-chair of the event and a longtime member of Leadership Huntington’s President’s Council. “It’s an opportunity for us to appreciate their existence in our community… We’re very pound of them.”
Currently prepping for his November fight against 10-time world champion Manny Pacquiao, Algieri, 30, will make some time for his hometown in September as he participates in the event, which has run every year since 2010. If Awareness Day continues to see the levels of success that it has in the past, the undefeated boxer and graduate of St. Anthony’s High School will be just one of thousands coming out to promote unity within the Huntington community.
“This here is the culmination of the scholar athlete,” Petrone said of Algieri, who has a master’s degree to go along with his world championship. “He’s a great role model for young people and he’s a great role model for the residents of Huntington.”
At 83 years old, Mastroianni has seen his career enter the public, private and political sectors. A “longtime friend” of Petrone, Mastroianni, along with his time as Huntington Republican chairman, was also once Suffolk County’s public administrator. A veteran of the Korean War, the Huntington Station native then went on to become a charter member and past national vice commander of the Navy Seabee Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign.
“Tony always looked to do a job as [Suffolk County’s public administrator] to try and take care of the people and their families,” Petrone said. “He’s a very personable guy who really wants to help out and do good… I’m proud that he’s getting recognition.”
Mastroianni is also a former member of the board of directors for the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.
Last, but certainly not least, Jerideau, also from Huntington Station, is cited as being one of the people that made Huntington Awareness Day possible. Now 85 years old, Jerideau began as a member of the town’s Mass Transit Citizen’s Advisory Council in 1982 – a council of which he would later become the chair. Since then, as a “very well respected” member of the community according to Petrone, Jerideau has worked as a member of the Huntington African American Task Force, the Huntington Station Revitalization Task Force and chair of the town’s Board of Assessment Review.
“He’s always been there for the community,” Petrone said. “Tom is one of the people who we’ve utilized over the years for input.”
Thanks to the “generosity” of Huntington Awareness Day sponsors and donors, Thompson said, all of the day’s events and rides will be free of charge “so [that] everyone in the community can enjoy this special day.”
“It is also gratifying to see that an event that started five years ago as a single expression of community pride has now become an annual tradition,” Thompson said.
For information on becoming a sponsor of a parade participant, visit the event’s website at http://www.huntingtonawareness.org or contact Dolores Thompson at 631-470-0636.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, July 31, 2014; A21)