We conclude our acknowledgement of the first Honorees in the Breezy Point Hall of Fame with Julia Ryan. Julia’s own century-long history truly spans that of the community. Julia remembers visiting cousins on the Bayside by Reid Avenue in 1929. Shortly afterward, Julia’s parents, Mike and Margaret Cappiello, bought a bungalow at 634 Highland Place, and she has been an active member of the community ever since. If the Reid association with Rockaway Point in the early years was a family enterprise, so, too, with the Cappiello-Ryan family. Julia’s father joined the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department in 1930, shortly after taking up residence. Julia enticed her new husband John Ryan to join shortly after being wed, and, apparently not wanting to be left out, both Julia and her mother joined the Ladies Auxiliary in 1940. That was fortuitous, since when the men were drawn away by the war from 1941 to 1945, the Ladies Auxiliary trained for and performed the critically important firefighting and rescue duties. By 1952, the old firehouse at the corner of Market Street and Reid Avenue could no longer accommodate the newer, larger, fire vehicles, and the decision was made to construct a modern building at what is now its present location. What was to be done with the old building? Again, Julia and family stepped forward and in 1953 they purchased the old building, which they winterized and in which Julia raised her six children. While Julia’s decades of service are themselves a notable contribution, her several children, many of whom are here tonight, and her grandchildren, are a continuing contribution as the community looks to its own second century of existence on the near horizon.
Julia’s volunteer services over the years directly and indirectly touched many lives, at fires and other emergencies, helping out when tragedy and sadness struck, and even assisting at the occasional birth, as our Trustee Marilyn Harvey can attest even if not necessarily by personal recall. Her services but also her personality have enriched our community during the greater part of the past century of its existence, and Julia’s presence here tonight is a testament to her own fortitude. Julia was honored by the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department in 2004 for her 60 years of service. Tonight, we can embellish that honor by adding another 13 years. And, not least, Julia was an original member of the Breezy Point Historical Society when we first convened two years ago. So, as a living legacy of the Breezy Point spirit of family, community and service, we honor Julia Ryan tonight.