Teresa McCaskie, longtime advocate for quieter skies above the East End, has been named the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association’s citizen of the year.
Association president Mary Eisenstein said the group chose Ms. McCaskie as its second-ever citizen of the year for her dedication, energy and commitment to the community on the helicopter noise issue on the North Fork. Ms. McCaskie fulfilled part of the civic association’s mission statement to inform, educate and preserve the community, she said.
“Think about what it means to be civic-minded, that one person can propel, no pun intended, an issue and she was one person that took this on,” Ms. Eisenstein said. “That was the additional piece, what the reflection of civic-minded is, and she’s a perfect example for that.”
Ms. McCaskie, who heads Southold’s helicopter noise steering committee, has attended meetings on helicopter noise, written letters to local newspaper editors and worked to spread the word to community members, as well as studied up on the specifics of aircraft noise metrics and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
“I’ve been at this for nine years,” the Mattituck resident said. “I’ve been very committed to hopefully finding some type of resolution for residents here on the North Fork. We just live in a beautiful area and I feel it’s very important to continue to fight for what I believe in.”
Ms. McCaskie said she is humbled by the honor, but stressed that she’s had help from the community at large, encouraging her to keep going.
“The days that I’m down, they’re like, ‘We can do this,’ like a therapy session,” she said. “I met a lot of wonderful people along the way.”
That help includes South Fork residents who are working toward a similar goal, such as members of the Quiet Skies Coalition, which is based in East Hampton and Southampton.
Ms. McCaskie called it a “huge accomplishment” to see different groups working together throughout the time she’s spent working on the issue.
“This is an East End issue and their passion is just as strong as ours and everyone basically wants to do the right thing,” she said. “The elected officials want to protect the people on the North Fork. And the people on the South Fork, the elected officials want to do what’s best for them. We’re all working together.”
Ms. McCaskie will officially be honored Dec. 15 in the community room at Veterans Beach in Mattituck, where the civic association will present her with a plaque.