08/16/14 6:29pm
08/16/2014 6:29 PM
Jerry Halpin and Nancy Reyer teamed up for Saturday's fundraiser at Skydive Long Island. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Jerry Halpin and Nancy Reyer teamed up for Saturday’s fundraiser at Skydive Long Island. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Nancy Reyer and her son, Michael Hubbard, had always planned to go skydiving on his 18th birthday.

Michael turned 18 on Saturday, and while he and his mom couldn’t skydive, they found a way to still complete their goal at Skydive Long Island.

(more…)

08/01/14 12:00pm
08/01/2014 12:00 PM
Nancy Reyer and her son Michael Hubbard with 2013 'Person of the Year' award. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Nancy Reyer and her son Michael Hubbard with 2013 ‘Person of the Year’ award. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

More than three years after her son was badly burned in a gel candle accident in 2011 — an accident that has left him in need of constant care for traumatic brain injuries — Nancy Reyer will be honored at a fundraising gala next month at Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center in Riverhead.

And a little more than a month after she watched him earn an honorary diploma at Riverhead High School, Ms. Reyer will be named Caretaker of the Year for her dedication and hard work caring for Michael, as well as her constant work to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury survivors and for Brendan House, a group home under development on Sound Avenue that will one day serve as Michael’s new residence.

The award will be presented to Ms. Reyer at the 6th Annual Summer Gala, a fundraiser for the traumatic brain injury nonprofit New Beginnings Community Center — the organization building Brendan House — Aug. 15.

“She’s always out there talking to businesses, promoting our fundraising,” said Allyson Scerri, founder of New Beginnings Community Center. “She’s amazing.”

But Ms. Reyer said she’s just “doing what any mother would do.” She said it’s the people and businesses across Riverhead who have supported her, Michael, and Brendan House that deserve the praise.

“It’s such an honor to come from such a loving town,” she said. “It makes me feel proud.”

Several businesses — like Riverhead Building Supply, Lowes, and Home Depot — have donated supplies and construction materials for Brendan House, which will provide 24-hour care for up to eight residents suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Costs for care would be covered by the patients’ insurance, Ms. Scerri said.

The 1,900-square-foot historic property being renovated for the project was built in the early 1900s and once served as a group home for unwed mothers. The building was given to New Beginnings in 2011, and plans for Brendan House began soon after.

As part of its renovation, a 2,500-square-foot extension was built on the rear of the structure.

The property is named after Brendan Aykroyd, a 25-year-old Blue Point resident who died in 2011 after suffering a brain injury in an assault two years earlier.

Ms. Scerri said the group hopes to open Brendan House this fall. She said that while the siding of the house is finished, the home still needs to have fire alarm systems installed and must undergo inspections.

“It was a tough winter to get through, but we’re on a bit of a roll now,” Ms. Scerri said. She said that while Brendan House has received numerous donations, the group still needs more funding to pay laborers and contractors to finish the job.

06/28/14 2:27pm
06/28/2014 2:27 PM
Michael Hubbard receives his honorary degree at Riverhead High School's graduation ceremony Saturday morning. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Michael Hubbard is cheered as he makes his way onto the stage at Riverhead High School’s graduation ceremony Saturday morning. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Hundreds of friends and family members packed the sidelines of Riverhead High School’s football field Saturday morning to watch members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas.

The outgoing seniors shared hugs and tears, reminiscing on the past triumphs and tragedies that shaped their education. (more…)

02/06/14 10:13pm
02/06/2014 10:13 PM

Daniel De Mato photo | Michael Hubbard, joined by his mother Nancy Reyer, was given a team jersey and autographed basketball by the Riverhead boys basketball team at halftime of Thursday’s game against West Islip.

BLUE WAVES 55, LIONS 46

As the crowd inside Riverhead High School rose to its feet, the smile on Michael Hubbard’s face couldn’t have been any wider.

In an emotional halftime ceremony Thursday night, Michael was recognized as an honorary member of the boys basketball team and presented with an autographed basketball and jersey. (more…)

12/29/13 9:00am
12/29/2013 9:00 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Michael Hubbard and mon, Nancy Reyer, in his room at Peconic Bay Medical Center's skilled nursing facility Thursday afternoon.

CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | Michael Hubbard and mon, Nancy Reyer, in his room at Peconic Bay Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility.

After years of rehabilitation upstate, a local teenager who was severely injured in a gel candle explosion two years ago came home this June, just as a nonprofit organization is readying a long-term home for him and other young people suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

Michael Hubbard was 15 when he suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body after being burned by a gel candle that exploded in his backyard May 28, 2011.

He went into cardiac arrest a week later, causing traumatic brain injury as well as kidney failure and lung distress. Originally taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center, Michael was moved that September to Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester County.

He had been recuperating slowly, learning to speak again, but the hospital could no longer accommodate him. That’s when Peconic Bay Medical Center officials called his mother, Nancy Reyer.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ms. Reyer said of the opportunity to move her son back to Riverhead.

Michael will remain at PBMC until a home currently under development on Sound Avenue is completed. The facility, called Brendan House, is being built the nonprofit New Beginnings.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 news stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.