The Johnny Mac Foundation is set to honor Bayport-Blue Point Public Library this Saturday at its “14th Wish Gala,” 7 p.m. at the Stonebridge Country Club in Hauppauge — and tickets to the event are still available.
The library will be recognized for its devotion to community service, said Jennifer McNamara, the founder and president of Johnny Mac, and the widow of FDNY firefighter John F. McNamara of Blue Point, for whom the foundation is named.
“There were few things as important to John as his community. John was grateful to live in a community that cared so deeply about our kids, teens and young adults,” she said. “The Bayport-Blue Point Public Library’s devotion to community service aligns perfectly with John’s vision of a better community.”
John McNamara was a first responder who engaged in more than 500 hours of rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks. He died in 2009 at 44 — from cancer contracted as a result of his efforts.
Granting a firefighter’s final wishes
As his health declined, John McNamara made a list of final wishes, including the desire to have a community center built in Blue Point. In fulfillment of his wishes, the Bayport-Blue Point Library Board last year voted to lease the cottage on the former St. Ursuline Center property to the Johnny Mac Foundation.
Just months earlier, the library had purchased the property. Construction on a new, expanded library facility kicks off this spring.
“The library is helping me to help make John’s dream come true,” Jennifer McNamara said.
Library board President Ronald Devine said it is very gratifying for the library to be recognized by the community-spirited organization.
“John McNamara’s personal courage was matched only by his love of the Bayport-Blue Point community,” Devine said. “Everyone involved with the library is proud to associate themselves with his inspiring example.”
Along with facilitating the creation of the community center, the library has joined forces with Johnny Mac to co-host events and programming that serve as platforms for community uplift.
In September, Rohan Murphy – a nationally recognized youth speaker – gave an inspirational talk at the library. In October, retired New York Mets legend Ed Kranepool recounted his long baseball career, including as a member of the “Miracle Mets” and the 1969 World Series championship season.
And in November, Bayport resident Ray Cooney – a retired firefighter and host of the popular TV show “Firehouse Kitchen” – shared both recipes and stories of firefighting heroism.
The Johnny Mac Foundation has a dual mission: to aid first responders and to support the local community. Johnny Mac assists September 11 first responders and first responder organizations, and provides aid when needs arise in the local community.
Saturday night’s event includes cocktails, dinner, dancing and raffles. Tickets are $150, with a number of sponsorship opportunities available, ranging in cost from $500 to $2,500. For information about tickets or sponsorships, contact email@example.com.