Fitting Memorial to Coach Lost on 9/11

By Christine Sampson
Staff Writer

April 7, 2002

For five years, Billy Mahoney used to stand near third base on a field at Duffield Elementary School in Ronkonkoma, coaching youth baseball. Yesterday, in honor of the Lakeland volunteer firefighter who perished in the World Trade Center attack, a crowd of about 300 people came out to dedicate a memorial garden not far from where he stood.

The Connetquot Youth Association honored Mahoney, a 15-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, by naming a field at the school after him and placing a granite boulder and plaque nearby.

At the start of the opening-day ceremony, two boys from Mahoney's team recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Choking back tears, Mahoney's widow, Donna, thanked the crowd for coming and for "trying to make our lives a little easier.