If you happened to be at “The Cut,” in Water Mill, last Friday evening, August 1, you would have noticed just a few more cars than normal, even for a summer evening. Around 7 p.m., around 100 bathing suit-clad surfers each picked up a flower from a bucket in the sand and placed it in his or her mouth. The solemn crowd then plunged into the warm August water and paddled out a few hundred yards. The group formed a circle, held hands and began to pay tribute to Jason Pollak, a fellow surfer who was no longer with them. Jason died this past April, at just 24 years old. Friday, August 1, marked what would have been his 25th birthday. Family members, friends, fellow surfers, parents and children, coworkers, acquaintances and even strangers came out to remember and celebrate a man who touched the lives of so many, in the very short time he was here.At times the powerful emotions from those in the water could be heard over the ocean and waves breaking along the shore. The words and chants of those in the water were indecipherable to the 100 or so people along the sand, but that did not matter. Emotions ran high as the crowd on the shore matched the passionate, heartfelt cries from the water, with cheers and applause.
I did not know him well, but I know well enough that a person like Jason does not come along often.
Jason had founded an organization called Worldwide Psychos. The members of this organization form a network of people who are dedicated to making the physical world a better place, according to the website, www.worldwidepyshos.org. In the months since he passed, Jason’s friends have made every effort to keep his legacy alive. George Williams and Casey Evans have, together, spearheaded weekly beach cleanups, from Hampton Bays to Southampton to Bridgehampton. Each Tuesday morning, from 8 to 10 a.m., you will find George, Casey and a host of other volunteers, cleaning up a different beach. You can follow the efforts of the Psychos on Instagram, by searching the hashtag #keepitpsycho. Since they began just a few months ago, the movement has spread. Michael Ferran walks into and around the village every morning, and takes every opportunity he can to pick up the trash he finds.
Jason’s impact stretches far beyond the Southampton community. Friends of Jason, who could not be in Southampton for last Friday’s paddle out, held their own tributes in California and even Hawaii, where Jason attended college. If that is not a testament to the significant impact Jason had on this world, I am not sure what is. While the void Jason left in the hearts of those who loved him will never be filled, it’s clear that his impact is still felt throughout the Southampton community and beyond. Jason’s legacy is sure to live on through the efforts of his family, friends and the Worldwide Psycho community.
Jim and Fay Mack celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week at Le Chef with son Jimmy Mack and husband Brian Mott who were also celebrating their 2nd anniversary. First of all, I just have to say excellent choice in restaurant—one of my favorites! Second, congratulations to both couples! Here’s to many more anniversaries to come!
Master Sergeant Kimberly H. Phillips, originally of Southampton, retired from the Air Force on July 25, after 26 years of service. Kimberly was on the Superintendent of the Air Force One Commander’s support staff. A ceremony was held at Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland, in the hangar where Air Force One is kept. In March 2009, Kimberly was hand selected and assigned to Air Force One for duty to the Presidential Logistics Squadron. Since then, her responsibilities included seeing to the safe transportation of the President of the United States. In addition, she provided security and administrative support to more 200 personnel transporting the President on global missions.
Approximately 60 guests attended the retirement ceremony, including Kimberly’s parents, John Falkowski and Linda Velsor. I had the chance to speak with Linda on the phone last week about the ceremony and her daughter’s accomplishments. Linda grew up in Sag Harbor and currently resides in Southampton. John was raised in Bridgehampton, but now lives upstate. In addition to Linda and John, also in attendance were Kimberly’s husband Wendell Phillips and their two daughters, Andreaa, 21, and Bryanna, 12. The family currently resides in Maryland. Kimberly’s post retirement plans include taking a few months off, her mother Linda told me. Congratulations to Kimberly and her family, and thank you, Kimberly, for your dedication to our country.
Eric Miller of Southampton was named to the dean’s list for academic excellence for the spring 2014 semester at Johns Hopkins University. In order to be selected for this honor, students are required to earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in a program of at least at least 12 graded credits.
Eric is the son of Jonathan and Gina Miller and graduated from Southampton High School in 2010. Eric was a biology major and graduated this past May. Congratulations!
At The Library
The Friends of the Rogers Memorial Library will offer Bluegrass on the patio, featuring Eastbound Freight, on Thursday, August 7, from 6 to 7 p.m.
The Friends of the Rogers Memorial Library presents The African Drum Experience, a performance on the patio by Jerome Liggon and friends, on Monday, August 11, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Local innkeeper Michelle Simmons will demonstrate the use of herbs and edible flowers in juices, salads and desserts on Wednesday, August 13, at noon. Reservations are required by August 10.
Tenor Paul Sperry and pianist Ian Hobson will perform a program of comic songs about life and love on August 14, at 5:30 p.m. Paul Sperry is recognized as one of today’s outstanding interpreters of American music. Ian Hobson studied music at the Royal Academy of Music and Cambridge University in England, and at Yale University.
To register for any program, visit www.myrml.org or call (631) 283-0774, ext. 523.... more