12/09/13 1:00pm
12/09/2013 1:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The main building on Sound Avenue that will become Brendan House.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The main building on Sound Avenue that will become Brendan House.

The Riverhead Lions Club is donating $4,000 to a group home for survivors of traumatic brain injury called Brendan House, which is now under-construction on Sound Avenue.

The club will present the funds to New Beginnings, the Medford nonprofit that is spearheading the project, tomorrow afternoon, said Lions club member Bobby Hartmann.

The Lions will name the living room of the building “The Lion’s Den” as a result of their donation, he said.

The Lions Club has also pledged to donate $2,000 each year ”in perpetuity” to the project, to help with operating costs, Mr. Hartmann said.

Once completed, the group home will provide round-the-clock care for eight residents. The aides that will work at the home will not stay overnight, and a house mother will live in a separate house on the property.

Mr. Hartmann said New Beginnings approached the Lion’s Club at the group’s meeting last week and immediately made a strong impression.

“They left and five minutes later we made a motion [to donate the funds],” he said. ”The stars lined up and it was a perfect match.”

Mr. Hartmann praised the work New Beginnings has already done, which includes rehabilitation work for those recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

“Being in our backyard and the good that they’re doing as a nonprofit, it was just there for us as a win-win for everybody,” he said.

psquire@timesreview.com

12/02/12 5:18pm
12/02/2012 5:18 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Santa waves hello to the crowd during Sunday’s annual Lions Club Christmas Parade.

The annual Riverhead Lions Club Christmas Parade went off without a hitch Sunday afternoon as firefighters, girl scout troops and Santa himself marched down Main Street on the balmy December afternoon.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Local girl and boy scouts troops marched in the parade Sunday afternoon.

The parade, a decades-old tradition, kicked off at 1 p.m., with the Riverhead Veterans of Foreign Wars, government leaders and the high school marching band leading the march along Main Street.

The Riverhead Fire Department and ambulance corps volunteers followed behind, with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of the parade waving to excited children in the crowd.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Riverhead High School marching band played holiday tunes as they made their way down Main Street.

After the parade, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter handed Mr. and Mrs. Claus the giant “Key to Riverhead,” saying that Santa could now get into houses without chimneys to deliver presents to the good boys and girls in town.

See our photo gallery below for more photos from the parade:

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | 3-year-old Jalice Mitchell talks to Santa for the first time at the annual Riverhead Lions Club Christmas Parade.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead veterans lead the annual Santa parade down Main Street Sunday afternoon.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Dancers with the New York Dance Center in Calverton perform at the Christmas parade Sunday.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead fire trucks finish up the parade route on the Peconic Riverfront Sunday afternoon.

12/04/11 4:50pm
12/04/2011 4:50 PM

JESSICA DINAPOLI PHOTO | Olivia, left, and Charlotte Blasko of Cutchogue sit on Santa's lap in Riverhead Sunday.

In a giant white beard and red suit, he had to be the real Santa Claus.

Even Bob Zappulla’s own grandchildren certainly believed he was the man from the North Pole.

Actually, he’s from Calverton.

During the annual Riverhead Lions Club Christmas parade on Sunday, Mr. Zapulla — otherwise known as Santa —  shouted out a greeting to Trevor, Mark and Jimmy Zappulla of Jamesport.

Later, when they told their grandfather all about it after the day’s festivities, they told him, “Santa knew my name,” Mr. Zappulla said.

After Councilman John Dunleavy stepped down as the jolly old elf three years ago, Mr. Zappulla took on the role.  The annual parade down Main Street puts Mr. Zappulla in the Christmas spirit. “I enjoy it more every year,” he said.

At least 200 people came out to enjoy the event, said Lions’ president and parade organizer Bob Kozakiewicz. The Riverhead Fire Department, local Girl and Boy Scout troops, antique car clubs and the Riverhead High School marching band participated.

The Lions have been holding the parade for more than 50 years, Mr. Kozakiewicz said. David Hildesheim of Mattituck said he walked in the parade as a child and now brings his children, Andrew and Samantha, down to Riverhead to see Santa.

“It lets us relive our youth,” said Chrissy Slee of Riverhead, who said she has been coming to the parade since childhood.

Kindles, cash and Lego sets were this year’s most requested gifts, Mr. Zappulla reported. He listened to the wishes of more than 100 children Sunday. Both Connor Sadeli-Weidner of Riverhead and Daniel Squires of Aquebogue asked for $85 cash. Connor wants to buy his own Lego set while Daniel wants lacrosse accessories.

Chris Jones of Riverhead said that he had asked Santa for a toy crane. “I want it so I can lift stuff off of my truck,” he said.

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