It began with five-gallon buckets of water that he lugged in the back of his truck.

Some 30 years later, former Islip Town Deputy Supervisor Chris Bodkin stood in front his garden near the corner of Candee Avenue and Main Street in Sayville and remembered those early days of caring for the flowers there.

“I would bring the buckets full of water from my house. They were heavy,” recalled Bodkin, 73, who was honored Saturday by Sayville business leaders and town and county officials for his upkeep of the garden.

Bodkin, a town councilman for over 15 years, together with his Sayville High School classmate Bill Venegas and Bayport Flower Houses owner Karl Auwarter, received special certificates for their decades of keeping “Chris Bodkin’s Garden” beautiful.

Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar spoke about the “extraordinary dedication and volunteerism” of the three men, quoting Ghandi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Bodkin has often made it his business to helping the community and local organizations He was instrumental in having the names of Vietnam and Afghan War veterans added to Sayville’s Sparrow Park Memorial.

Here are some photos of Saturday’s dedication event, which was organized by the chamber. Be sure to click on box No. 2 to see them all.

Sayville High School classmates and friends Bill Venegas (left) and Chris Bodkin. They graduated together in 1965.
Chris Bodkin (left) and Bill Venegas receive volunteerism awards from Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar.
(from left) Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar, Bayport Flower Houses owner Karl Auwarter, Sayville resident Bill Venegas, former Islip Councilman Chris Bodkin, and chamber 2nd Vice President Ron Trotta.
Chris Bodkin with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
Former Islip Town Councilman Chris Bodkin.