2004-12-17 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter

BEVERLY BAXTERBEVERLY BAXTER “Do all you can, with what you have. In the time you have. In the place you are.” This adage perhaps best describes the life of one very special man who resides among us.

When you ask Joe Mure when he moved into his stately manse on Neponsit Ave., he says, “Well, I begin stringing the lights in October, so I guess I bought the house in September—three years ago.” In fact, when he speaks of the many events in his life, the focus always comes back to those lights that light up his home, as well as illuminate the cause for a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.

 Mure is man with a mission, whom his dear friend George Greco describes as a man “with a fly in his stomach”. He is a remarkable example of the power and potential of the human spirit and of what one person can accomplish when they are compelled by a burning passion.

Mure began “stringing his lights” eight years ago for two reasons. “The first is to bring back the magic of Christmas and to put a smile on a child’s face. The second is to bring attention to Juvenile Diabetes and raise much needed monies for a cure. It all began as a grass-roots effort with the light of hope in this one man’s eyes. “I began raising money for the JDRF years ago; but because I wasn’t affiliated with a particular chapter, my money wasn’t easily accepted! Then one day, I get a phone call in my law office from a woman named “Stephanie” who was a reporter for one of the local Brooklyn newspapers that covered many of my cases. She said she simply wanted to thank me. I guess she had heard about my work on behalf of J.D.. When I asked her what her interest was, she said she was Diabetic and was a member of the Brooklyn Chapter. I said, “Stephanie, where do you live? She said, “Long Island”. I asked her to stop by my house on her way home. When she arrived, I brought her into the kitchen and handed her about seven thousand dollars in cash; monies that I’d raised. She stood there crying.” 

While Stephanie was shocked by the generous gesture, Joe Mure felt his efforts validated; thus he was more propelled then ever. He is now the President of the Brooklyn-Queens Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.   

Each year, the Mure family opens up their home and their hearts to the spirit of Christmas. The spectacular display has become not only a Rockaway tradition; but an event that draws families from all around the city. This year, it was estimated that several thousand came for the occasion which felt more like a Hollywood stage set for the film classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. There were traditional performances by the Rockaway Theatre Company, The Luis Bens Dance Troupe (two of the dancers suffer from J.D.), and The Breezy Point Pipe Band. To add to the magical extravaganza, Santa Claus and Mrs.. Claus (Frances Abbracciamento!) were hoisted from the bucket of a Fire Truck, while a helicopter hovered from above spotlighting down on the entire area. “Look!”, exclaimed several children. “There’s Santa! Up in the Helicopter!” For those precious moments, they believed. Each child lined up to receive a present from Santa. There were also celebrity sitings at The Little North Pole! Tony Sirico (who plays Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos) wished everyone a happy holiday; and then at another point, Joe Mure walked out on the stage and said, “I hear there’s a rumor going around Rockaway that Bobby DeNiro bought a house here! Well, why don’t we ask him ourselves!” The actor waved to the crowd and then retreated into the Mure house.    

The Mure family took to the stage to address the crowd. Christina Mure spoke eloquently about the need for a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. While Joe has long been passionate about the cause for a cure, his crusade has become very personal. His youngest son Michael,4, was diagnosed two months ago with the disease and will now need to rely on five shots of insulin a day. “His little tiny arms are riddled with needle marks. It’s heart-breaking. No child should have to endure that.” If there’s a cure to be found, Joe Mure will find it.”  

As a Criminal Defense Attorney, Mure has dedicated his professional career to advocating and defending the accused. As a father of three beautiful children, he has dedicated the pitich and purpose of his life to advocating for the thousands of children afflicted by this terrible disease. The Mures wish to thank The Beach Club for the hot chocolate and cookies, their friends who dressed as famous Disney characters, the FDNY, the many who donated toys; and a special thank you to all those who attended their holiday cocktail party. That event raised nearly ninety-thousand dollars. In illuminating their home, the Mures illuminate an important cause. And we thank them for that magical evening where young and old alike...believed.

***Another important celebration that took place around our town was The Rockaway Homeowners and Residents Association’s annual Holiday Party at the Knights of Columbus. The association feted three distinguished people who, through the work of their lives, have enhanced ours. Peter Hayden, Chief of Department-FDNY, was honored for his esteemed service to his noble profession and to our community in the aftermath of 911 and the Flight 587 plane crash. He was presented with his award by Bernie Heeran, whose heartfelt remarks described an admiration and respect for Chief Hayden’s stellar career in the department. Hayden was joined by his gracious wife Rita and their beautiful extended family.

Councilman Joe Addabbo received the Community Recognition Award. In fact, the Board of Directors, in choosing its slate of honorees could think of no one more deserving. Association President Edward D. Re presented the Councilman with the Award and remarked eloquently of Mr. Addabbo’s achievements on behalf of the community. Joe was joined by his very attractive wife Dawn and their lovely daughter Alexis. Of course, the success of an elected official depends a great deal upon the dedication of his staff. Councilman Joe’s choice of Sandee Doremus as his Rockaway Liaison was a stroke of genius and speaks volumes of the kind of person Joe is. I had the honor of presenting the Community Service Award to Sandee Doremus who has helped expedite many of Joe’s endeavors, particularly the countless memorials and street-namings and who has entered many of our lives in a very personal way. Sandee was joined by husband Jate and many of the Councilman’s staff. Congratulations to the honorees and to Mary, Ben, and John Lenihan who worked feverishly to ensure a successful and wonderful evening. 

***Happy Birthday wishes to Dr. Kathleen Sharkey! and to the loveable “Jo Jo” Waters!

***Best Wishes for a joyous holiday season.


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