Villagers packed the Rockville Links Country Club on Monday night to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rockville Centre Community Fund at the annual Mayor’s Golf & Tennis Classic & Dinner.
Former Mayor Eugene Murray, Trustee Ed Oppenheimer and Village Justice William Croutier Jr. were honored for their involvement with the fund, a charity that provides community members with emergency financial help quickly and confidentially.
Murray, who is credited with starting the fund in 1987 — his first year in office — was this year’s main honoree. In presenting the 2012 Honoree Award to his father, Mayor Francis Murray described him as a man of “longstanding dedication and leadership from which all our residents have benefited. From his insight, thousands of our Rockville Centre neighbors have received financial assistance in their time of need.”
The success of the fund, which has raised more than $2 million over a quarter-century, Francis Murray said, “reflects the hard work of many caring residents who ensure that their neighbors have somewhere to turn when life throws them a curve.”
Of his father, Murray said, “He is a man who was given a gift, and he used that gift unselfishly to guide our residents his entire life in public office. He never counted those accomplishments or even looked for praise or accolades. He is a great example for us all.
“He is one of the most deserving honorees this fund has ever acknowledged,” Mayor Murray added. “I am so proud to be his son and stand before you to recognize all his inspiring charitable works, which have helped so many for so long. To know him is to love him, a true friend to us all.”
Oppenheimer was recognized for his many years of service as treasurer of the fund — a role his father, Richard, pioneered.
Mayor Murray also presented the fund’s first annual Eugene J. Murray Outstanding Citizenship Award to Croutier, who volunteered to chair the RVC We Care Committee and the RVC Sept. 11th Memorial Committee shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.