Rod Coyne remembers seeing his parents get dressed up in their New Hyde Park home for the Emerald Association Ball in New York City.
Decades later, he’s now the president of the association, which raises money to support children’s initiatives of the Catholic Church’s Diocese of Brooklyn.
And Coyne’s childhood friend Pat Farrell, frontman for the Cold Spring Harbor Band, a nationally known Billy Joel tribute band, will perform at the March 3 gala at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel where Coyne will be honored.
“It’s more than just a gig,” said Farrell, a Garden City Park resident. “I’m very proud to be there for Rod and him coming in as president, especially in such a great venue … and for an organization that’s been around as long as they have.”
The Emerald Association was founded in Brooklyn in the 1830s and held its first gala in February 1839 to benefit the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum Society of Brooklyn.
The organization says its event is the longest-running annual fundraising ball in the United States. Since 1957, all proceeds have gone to the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s programs to support and educate underprivileged children.
“The theme that is consistent is that it’s to be provided to children, services for children,” said Coyne, now a Garden City resident. “It’s not used so that they can buy fancy vestments.”
Coyne’s family was active at Notre Dame Parish in New Hyde Park when he was growing up, and his parents attended the Emerald Association ball for several years, he said.
Coyne, an attorney with the Brooklyn law firm McMahon Martine & Gallagher, became an Emerald Association officer about five years ago and moved up the ranks to become president this year, he said.
The group has helped him form many new friendships and professional connections, but his Catholic faith remains a big driver of his charity work, he said.
That’s something that runs in the family — his father, Patrick Coyne, attends mass at Notre Dame every day, serves communion to homebound parishioners and visits seniors at the Denton Green apartment complex in New Hyde Park, Rod Coyne said.
“I think it’s directly linked to the golden rule, ‘do unto others,’” Rod Coyne said. “And especially for people who are starting to achieve some financial success, it’s important to, as one wise person I know said, don’t pull up the ladder behind you.”
Farrell, who has remained friends with Coyne since they attended the Manor Oaks School together, said Coyne is a service-oriented person who “always has other people first.”
Farrell, who has been the keyboard player and vocalist for the Cold Spring Harbor Band since it was formed in 2009, said he’s “extremely honored” to play at next week’s ball honoring his lifelong friend.
“He’s followed in his dad’s footsteps as a wonderful man,” Farrell said.
Tickets for the March 3 Emerald Association Ball are still available for $250.
The event starts with a cocktail hour at 7 p.m. followed by dinner and dancing at 8 p.m. in the Roosevelt Hotel, located at 45 E. 45th St. in Manhattan.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) will be the special guest.