The Gus Scutari Challenge Coin

Photo of Gus Scutari Challenge Coin by Katheryn Laible

Thank You Gus

I always mention Gus Scutari on Memorial Day as coordinating that parade down Jackson Avenue in Syosset was very important to him. It was also how most of the broader community got to know him. Maybe, though, the 4th of July is an even better time to talk about him.

Here is the story I was blessed to write with Gus. I share it often because I think what Gus had to say was important, that the impact he had on people was incredibly positive, and that his brand of patriotism is among those I most deeply appreciate. I also find that, the more I read those words, which are mostly his, the more I learn.

Gus was friendly, and witty. He knew how to have a good time, and how to make other people feel seen and heard. He felt very strongly about the American Flag, and honoring our Nation’s Veterans. At the same time, his patriotism was very personal. Gus cared about the big systems and decisions, for sure, but what he really emphasized was the importance of the individual; the everyday choices we make as citizens, and the idea that America will only ever be as good as we, its people, will.

Gus wanted folks to give it their best and to think for themselves. He wanted people to be good to each together. Mostly, he wanted us to give it our best to be worthy of so many who give so much, and to let the world know that most of the folks he met in this life seemed to agree. For this, he was deeply thankful.

From an event honoring local champion of veterans Gus Scutari in 2016

Honoring Good Citizenship

I wrote recently about Max becoming an Eagle Scout. One of the things a parent is instructed to do when their child earns this honor is to alert all the localities’ elected officials and other key civic associations, all the way up to the President and whomever else, that someone has basically just earned a degree in good citizenship. Everyone has their own way of responding and you end up with this pile of certificates that I find fascinating.

By far, the most meaningful token came from the local VFW, Post No. 6394, recently named the “Gus Scutari” Post in Syosset: A Gus Scutari Challenge Coin. This coin speaks not only to who Gus was as a person, but to the impact he had on those around him; an impact perhaps most directly illustrated in this very endeavor by our local veterans to imbue Gus’ joyful, earnest civic spirit in others. It’s what Gus did himself, after all, for so many years with whomever caught his eye and returned his friendly smile.

In addition to his nickname, “Mr. Memorial Day,” Gus was also the “Americanism Chairman of Nassau County.” A proud booster of the Scouts, he attended ALL local Eagle Ceremonies. He was known for his entertaining, thoughtful speeches, and for his way of pinning a US flag on the kid’s chest as a badge of good citizenship and a reminder to keep it up.

I don’t think Gus ever left the house without his VFW hat. He was known as a WWII hero, though he’d tell you over and again, he got lucky. When he told the Vietnam Veterans and so many others that their own service was at least as honorable, thank you for doing the best you could figure how, it meant a very great deal. Every Memorial Day, Gus encouraged folks to make the best of things; to be good citizens worthy of the fact that young people give their lives for them. Gus was a great booster for both the VFW and the American Legion in Syosset and beyond. Moreover, he was an incredible ambassador and a proud, responsible member of the United States. If you asked, many who knew of him would tell you that Gus was The Community Spirit of Syosset, if not America herself.

Because it’s up to US

Gus advanced the Patriot Pen and Voice of America Scholarship Programs and would regularly talk to young and old alike about history and current events, honoring people for their service and asking folks to think about things and consider what it is best We the People do.

Why? Because the basic message from Gus is that we have the freedom to make what we will of this Nation, and that, yes, the grand actions of leaders and heroes are important, but it’s how everyday people choose to conduct themselves that makes a difference, and that sometimes it may seem like a crazy thing to do, but doing the right thing seems to work out pretty well most of the time. Even when it doesn’t, it’s still the right thing to do.

It was an honor for Max to receive this coin, and I am blessed that he shares it with me and that together we can offer it to you. May we go on out there, try to stand up straight and make the best of whatever life hands us. May we take it at least as well as we give it, give it our best to be decent and honorable, and remember, whatever happens, to laugh.

May God Bless America.

 

Solo Show at the Firefly: “Untethered” by Drigo Morin

“Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon” A solo show by Drigo Morin. Thank you, Chris Yee for the Exhibition Postcard!

Check out this video of Firefly Drigo Morin, made by Firefly John Lazzaro. Drigo has a gift for portraiture and a passion for space exploration. He’s been working on this series on and off for years, with some really good pieces completed recently.

There will be a solo show “Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon”
Where: The Firefly Artists, 90 Main Street, Northport. 
Works will be on view July 1-16
A reception will be held July 11 from 7-9pm
 

This is going to be amazing!!!

 

About The Firefly

The Firefly was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. The goal was to create a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations.

Over more than a decade, we have had the great privilege of displaying a stunning variety of works by well over 400 artists through our Main Street locations and pop-up galleries. We boast extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique on Long Island.

In 2020 we expanded our offerings, creating a “Darcy Arts Center” to feature special exhibitions and classes in addition to the rich selection of works by our resident artists. We are thrilled to continue to develop this in our beautiful new space, right in the center of everything! 

Every time you purchase something from The Firefly Artists you support at least two local artists. Come, experience our beautiful gallery. Bring home that perfect thing to brighten your world or someone else’s.

Thank you for your support.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website for all the latest updates. Even better, come to our beautiful location, The Old Hardware Store at 90 Main Street, Northport

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