Mineola officials, residents honor local vet injured in combat

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Bill Urianek said he started a drive to raise money for U.S. Army Sgt. Brendan Marrocco to help him with his expenses. Urianek said he has collected more than 1,150,000 cans and bottles since 2004 and has donated ALL the proceeds to veteran causes. (Photo by John Nugent)

By John Nugent

The Mineola Board of Trustees and local veterans groups honored U.S. Army Sgt. Brendan Marrocco at a Board of Trustees meeting last Wednesday.

Sgt. Marrocco lost both arms and both legs in combat in Afghanistan in 2009.

Local Korean War veteran Bill Urianek, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, said he spearheaded a drive to raise money for Marrocco to help him with his expenses.

Urianek, who is known around Mineola as “Bill the Can Man,” has collected more than 1,150,000 cans and bottles since 2004 and has donated all the proceeds to veteran causes.

Urianek said he mobilized several local veteran organizations to raise funds for Marrocco.

He said that children from the Elmont and Baldwin school districts and the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Bellmore collected 400,000 cans in support of Marrocco.

Ken Findlay, past Commander of American Legion Post 1033 in Elmont, who attended the ceremony with several of his fellow Post members, said of Marrocco, “We take care of our own.”

Also in attendance were members of American Legion Post 349 in Mineola and a group of U.S. Marine Corps veterans.

Each group thanked Marrocco for his service and presented him with a check.

Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss praised the medics who saved Marrocco’s life and noted that he underwent 13 hours of transplant surgery. “You are an inspiration to everybody,” he said and urged everyone to consider being an organ donor.

Each member of the village board followed Strauss by saluting Marroco and thanking him for his service to his country.

In another matter, the mayor called attention to a new plaque honoring former Mayor Robert Hinck that has been added to the Wall of Honor in Village Hall.

Hinck served for many years on the Board of Trustees and was an active member of many organizations in the Mineola community, Strauss said. Strauss said Hinck was “a true family man” and thanked him “for being a part of our village.”

The mayor also recognized former Mayor Stanley Krause who served on the Board of Trustees for 23 years. Krause was added to the Wall of Honor in 2018.
Theo Rabinowitz, a resident on 1st Street, addressed the board regarding parking problems in the village.

He asked if parking permits could be issued to residents who are forced to frequently move their cars in order to comply with time limits on streets in the downtown area. Village Attorney, John Gibbons said in response, “streets are held in the public trust and cannot be reserved for specific residents.”

Strauss said that the Harrison Avenue parking garage under construction at 1st Street and 3rd Avenue is expected to be completed in July 2020.

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