The people who help beautify Hampton Bays were celebrated at a luncheon on Dec. 15 at Oakland's Restaurant in Hampton Bays. Among those recognized was Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.
During the holiday lunch, Schneiderman was presented with the Hampton Bays Beatification Association's Angel of the Year Award for securing grants that have helped the beautification association further it's mission.
Schneiderman procured annual funding for the association through Suffolk County Omnibus grants since taking office in 2004. The grants have totaled $49,000. Additional funding was realized through a Downtown Revitalization Grant.
"The Hampton Bays Beautification Association makes living in Hampton Bays more beautiful for everyone," said Schneiderman. "They have a lot of vision and style. They take the time to make it beautiful. The community feels cozier."
When people take the time to keep their community clean and make it attractive, it causes others to want to do the same, said Schneiderman.
"Seeing people picking up litter, planting flowers, doing things to make the community beautiful inspires others to give back to the community too," said Schneiderman.
Schneiderman said he is also a supporter of the association because it is a group that is made up entirely of dedicated volunteers that work to make their community a better place for residents, visitors and those driving by.
Aside from honoring Schneiderman, the association also paid tribute to Mark and Margie Hertz, Ed and James Moore, retiring Southampton Town employees Allyn Jackson and Richard Blowes.
Thanking volunteers is an important part of the afternoon, said event chair Joan Shields.
"The Luncheon is our way of thanking the community and saying we're glad to be a part of Hampton Bays," Shields said. "It's a fun time and a great way to spend an afternoon. We keep the tickets reasonable so people can come and enjoy themselves."
Volunteers, she said, allow for association projects like banners for special events on Main Street, holiday decorations and flower plantings in the median leading to Montauk Highway.
Other projects include hanging flower baskets along Main Street, staffing the annual Concert Under the Stars at Ponquogue Beach, the Garden Tour and a Garden Party fundraiser.
"We have at least 100 members and 50 very active members who are always called and keep things going," Shields said.
This year's luncheon was extra special to the association in that it marked the non-profit's 25th anniversary.