Flanders woman hired local artist to carve 9/11 tribute

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Artist Richard Anderson was commissioned to carve this tribute to Flanders’ bravest in a tree in Sue Mastelli’s front yard. Mr. Anderson also sculpted the works that line the boardwalk along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead.

Flanders resident Sue Mastelli watched superstorm Sandy speed through her Fern Avenue neighborhood last fall, she thought of something positive that could come out of such a disaster.

“Trees are coming down all over the place and limbs and the whole bit,” she said this week. “So I’m just sitting here like ‘Wow. I’m gonna carve another tree!’ ”

Just a month before, Ms. Mastelli had hired Wading River artist Richard Anderson to carve a bird sculpture from a tree in her backyard. But this time, she decided, the sculpture would be different. This one would honor her neighborhood’s and the country’s bravest, specifically the heroes of the 9/11 terror attacks.

So three weeks ago, with his schedule cleared up, Mr. Anderson returned to Ms. Mastelli’s yard and took a chain saw to the bare 10-foot-high tree trunk left standing in her front yard, carving out the tribute that will sit on front of her home for a long time.

And it came just in time for the coming anniversary.

“With 9/11 coming up and our fire department parade coming up, what better thing is there to do than put up that, something good?” she said.

Mr. Anderson also sculpted the works that line the boardwalk along the Peconic riverfront in downtown Riverhead.

The Flanders resident of nearly 38 years, who also belongs to the Flanders Fire Department’s parade committee, said she commissioned the memorial to also to show the positive side of the neighborhood she loves. Her son, Keith Zambzryski is a captain in the department, she said.

“We always hear bad things in the newspaper [about Flanders] so let’s do something good,” she said.

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