Friends of Charles Park Committee
COMMUNITY INVOLVMENT: Ray York was originally with the Howard Beach Civic Forum, and then got involved with the Friends of Charles Park Committee “so we could take care of it [Frank M. Charles Park].”
About 10 years ago, he was asked, if, with the American Legion, they could relocate the flagpole within the park.
So the Army veteran and member of the Howard Beach Memorial Services, with American Legion Post 1404 members Ed Murray, Bob Connolly, Charles Hilgendorf, and Friends of Charles Park Committee founder Dorothy McCloskey, worked to move the pole.
Its new location – and look, designed by York, with a Pentagon-shaped base — will be officially unveiled on Saturday, August 14 at 6 p.m. at a dedication ceremony for the Korean War Memorial and Community Flag Pole.
An inscription reads, “Dedicated to those of our community who died in our nation’s defense 1776 to present.”
“We just wanted to put up a taller flagpole,” said York, noting it is now 50 feet. “It’s a great location.”
PERSONAL: York, a former sheet metal worker, has been married to his wife Dolores for 56 years. They had seven children, including firefighter Ray York, 45, who perished on 9/11 and for whom “Ray York Way” was dedicated.
York, who retired in 1994, also ran Doly Bar in Howard Beach.
PROUDEST MOMENT: “When the street was renamed for my son,” he said. “I was proud, but it was very sad too.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The flagpole turned out to be one of them because it took so long,” said York, who noted that people had been asking when the project would be complete.
FAVORITE MEMORY: “It might be yet to come,” he said, but then added, “Perhaps getting out of the Army.”
INSPIRATION: “This project,” which he designed from the ground up.