Late Lynbrook village employees honored at tree dedication

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Dozens of Lynbrook residents and honorees’ family members gathered at Greis Park on May 26 to watch as four trees were dedicated in memory of past Village of Lynbrook employees, including late former Mayor William Hendrick, who died in October.

“It was the most beautiful day,” said Hendrick’s son, John.

In addition to Hendrick, trees were also dedicated in memory of former lifeguard Melissa McHenry, past Lynbrook Public Library Board President Regina Flaherty and former Lynbrook Fire Department Chief James Francis Abrams. Their family members provided speeches, while plaques were inserted into the ground in front of the trees.

“They are a living tribute to those who have devoted so much of themselves to the Village of Lynbrook, its residents and its community,” Mayor Alan Beach said in a statement.

Hendrick died on Oct. 10, 2017, while he was still serving as mayor. Before he was elected mayor in 2011, he served as a trustee in the village from 1989 to 1993 and again from 1995 to 2010. He was a founding member and chairman of the Lynbrook Expo Committee, an associate member of Lynbrook Engine Co. No. 1 for 19 years and an honorary member of Lynbrook Emergency Medical Co. No. 1. In addition, Hendrick was a former cub master for Pack 84, former assistant scout master for Troop 332 of the Boy Scouts of America, and a member of the Lynbrook Elks Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the past president of the Lynbrook Republican Club.

“He was one of the most generous and kind people I knew,” John Hendrick said.

McHenry died on May 9, 2016, at the age of 18. She was an art student, a lifeguard and an employee of the Lynbrook Recreation Department. She attended Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and studied Arts Management. In 2015, she received a Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest honor a Scout can achieve — after she advocated for local veterans and donated a piece of artwork she created to the Lynbrook Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“For her short 18 years, I feel like she served her purpose in life,” said her mother, Pat, who added that she is happy that her daughter is remembered at the park she walks in every day. “Their names live on and that provides us healing.”

Flaherty died on Sept. 18, 2017, at the age of 65. She was a member of the Solidarity of Our Lady of St. Raymond’s parish, the Lynbrook Owls Moms and Dads Club, the Gridiron Club and the PTA. Flaherty also served as the president of the Friends of the Lynbrook Library and as president of the library board. According to her obituary on the website for Perry Funeral Home, Inc., she was known for her chocolate chip cookies, her rainbow cookies, crumb cakes and whoopee pies.

Abrams died on March 9, 2018, at the age of 75. He was a 52-year member of the Lynbrook Fire Department, where he served as the former chief and as the commissioner. He was a member of Vulcan Chemical & Hose Co. No. 2 and an honorary member of Engine Co. No. 1. According to his daughter, Deirdre Mahmoud, Abrams “loved the outdoors,” and enjoyed traveling to New England, where he was born.

“I’m just really proud of him,” Mahmoud said. “Fifty-two years is a long time to serve your community.”

The trees are now on display at Greis Park, at 55 Wilbur Street, where they will continue to grow for years to come.