On The Beach
With Beverly Baxter
A Very Mure Christmas
“Can you hold on, Beverly? I’ve got a guy on the other line and I’m in the middle of ordering 3,000 hot-dogs!” From the day after Halloween right up until the first Saturday in December, this typifies many of Joe Mure’s conversations.
During this time leading up to the holiday season, the Mure’s stately Neponsit home, located at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue, has many newly welcomed inhabitants. Their names are Woody, Minnie, Mickey, Baby Bop, Charmander, Pikachu, and Frosty, as well as toys and hundreds of Teddy Bears; and they are all just waiting to come alive as Joe and Maritza Mure flick the switch that lights up their home, turning it into a winter wonderland on
Saturday December 3rd promptly at 6 pm.
The annual spectacular event has gained renowned citywide attention where parents and children of all ages travel from all over the five boroughs; however, for the Mure’s, the occasion has become a beacon bringing awareness to Juvenile Diabetes, a disease that afflicts thousands of children. In illuminating their home, the Mure’s continue to illuminate the cause and the dire need for a cure.
The Mure’s first began lighting up their home ten years ago and raised ten thousand dollars. Last year, the occasion raised one hundred thousand dollars which went to both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for research and to Peninsula Hospital enabling its funding of a new Juvenile Diabetes Treatment Center. “Diabetes is a disease that has to change course,” states Joe Mure. “Just recently a little girl up the block and a young adult around the corner were diagnosed. This is in addition to the thousands of others from throughout our community who suffer this horrific disease.” According to Robert V. Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer at Peninsula Hospital Center, “Diabetes is a major public health issue here in Rockaway. We were initially treating adults; and now, due to the Mure’s generous support, we are now treating children with Diabetes. The disease, as well as its increasing population, has been on the radar screen with the Department of Health and here at Peninsula Hospital, we are meeting this health issue by providing the only Juvenile Diabetes Treatment Center in our area.”
Of course, the Holiday Lighting is all about the children, and there is much work that goes into the mounting of such a Herculean production that resembles a back lot at Disney Studios rather than a neighborhood block in Rockaway. “I have a lot of help. Many of my neighbors pitch in and I’m grateful to all of them. Don Hart is with me from the first day I start stringing and switching around all the wires. Even Joe Gambino had to go to Peninsula Hospital to get his hand checked from turning all the light bulbs, and the volunteer kids from The Church of Latter Day Saints were amazingly helpful. It’s a lot of work and it all has to be perfect when we flick the one switch,” said Mure. He stated that there are two reasons why he does it. “The first is to put a smile on your children’s faces and a memory that will last a lifetime, and also to raise awareness and much needed funds to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.”
This year, the inter-faith program will feature: traditional Christmas, Hanukkah, and Patriotic renditions; performances by The Rockaway Theatre Company; The Louise Benes Dance Troupe will perform The Nutcracker; Caroling by the Saint Edmund’s Prep High School Band; The County Tyrone Pipe Band; and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus will magically descend from the sky! The FDNY and NYPD will distribute toys and those really Good Guys, Steven and Kenny, and The Beach Club will give out hot chocolate and other refreshments.
The Mure’s will host their annual cocktail party at The Belle Harbor Yacht Club on Saturday December 17th at 8 p.m. There will be entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, buffet, and open bar. A donation of $100 is suggested and to be made payable to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. On December 23rd., the Mure’s will host a special visit with Santa at their home for Autistic children in our area. Joe Mure has become a kind of Ambassador for children whom many endearingly refer to as “Mr. Christmas.”
“I look forward to all the kids coming to my house. To me, in my hectic busy life, this is what’s most important. The children are what really matter. I do it for them.”