2019 Inspiration Award: Mary Reid

A professional volunteer

Randall Waszynski
Posted 1/16/20

Mary Reid is an acting member in several organizations within the Town of Islip, as well as serving on multiple notable boards, including Long Island Housing Partnership. In addition to her support …

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2019 Inspiration Award: Mary Reid

A professional volunteer


Mary Reid is an acting member in several organizations within the Town of Islip, as well as serving on multiple notable boards, including Long Island Housing Partnership. In addition to her support and promotion of the community, Reid’s dedication to service has earned the honor as Islip Bulletin’s Inspiration Award winner for 2019.

Reid was nominated by Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter, who expressed that this is the perfect award to recognize Reid for the service she has willed into her community.

“When you talk about Inspiration Awards, there are Volunteers of the Year and other things that people can be recognized for, but ‘recognition’ really says it about Mary Reid. I just couldn’t be any more thrilled,” Carpenter said, adding that she has been acquainted with Reid for more than 25 years.

Reid said she was humbled to learn that she was selected and that Carpenter nominated her for the award.

“I don’t think people should get awards for stuff like this,” Reid said. “I do because I love to do. I am embarrassed, but I am honored. I enjoy helping people. I enjoy being out there in the mix. I don’t have a lot of money, but I do have time. I am retired. I just love giving.”

Reid has been a member of First Baptist Church of Bay Shore for 72 years. Regarding the church, she said she is most proud of its initiative in cleaning up Penataquit Creek in Bay Shore, which runs from just south of Southern State Parkway to the Great South Bay.

“When I was a young girl, we used to play there,” Reid explained. “Along with Seatuck, we have been able to garner some funds to restore that creek.”

The creek has seen two major cleanups in recent years and she noted that the creek is turning out beautifully.

“That is our big initiative, to try to make that into something that is viable — to try to keep the fish population going,” she said, adding that there is another scheduled cleanup on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 20, that will focus on removing invasive plant species.

Reid has also been involved in Long Island Housing Partnership for 25 years. And Carpenter noted that Reid has been an advocate for the partnership in any and all conversations regarding it, reminiscing back to her time as a legislator in Suffolk County.

“At one point, we had put together a group of women to address the affordable housing issue in the county, and Mary served on that committee, too,” Carpenter said.

Reid works on a subcommittee for the partnership called Spruce Up, which enters a selected community along with local volunteers to beautify homes and properties in need. The committee selected Brentwood and Central Islip in previous years and Bay Shore in 2019.

“The houses were an average of 100 years old,” Reid said. “Also, with Long Island Housing Partnership, I like that it is a nonprofit and we help people find houses [for] first-time home buyers. And then they also council there free.”

Reid is also involved with the Town of Islip Housing Authority, which works with the housing partnership.

“That is a lot of Section 8 and HUD houses. Anything that has to do with helping people, that is what I want to do,” she continued.

Coupling all her work with the church, Reid also helped rekindle the spark of the Bay Shore Interfaith Council, which brings together the various faiths and discusses the similarities across religions represented in the community. An upcoming meeting will discuss further events, as the organization works to regain traction.

“So many unpleasant things go on in this world, and if we can talk about the good ones, then I think we are on the right track,” Reid said.

Reid is one of the founding members of Islip Food for Hope as well. She is currently a board member for the nonprofit and recalled last November’s Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, a few days before the holiday.

“This year we gave about 900 baskets in conjunction with the town and different organizations. I find that that is a worthwhile project and I really enjoy doing that,” Reid added.

Reid is also a member of both the Bay Shore and Brentwood communities.

“I live in Bay Shore and I live in Brentwood. When we came here in 1947, we lived in Bay Shore. Bay Shore is my home church; that is where I went to school. I graduated from Bay Shore High School. I love Bay Shore. When I’m not busy in Bay Shore, I am in Brentwood, and I am in Brentwood because that is where my children went to school,” Reid said, adding that she also served one term on Brentwood Union Free School District’s board of education.

Remaining in Brentwood, Reid also serves on the board for Brentwood Public Library. She said that she not only loves the library and considers it the best public library in New York, but also considers it her home.

“It is something that everyone can enjoy, and we try and bring programs there that people do enjoy,” Reid said, continuing on to say, as a trustee, she is volunteering for the AARP tax consultant.

Carpenter also noted that Reid served on the community committee for Roberto Clemente Park near the beginning of the cleanup there. Reid, she said, was the one who suggested the installation of a spray park, an addition that allows for those who are physically handicapped to enjoy the water aspect of the park.

There are several other community organizations Reid has her hand in, though in smaller capacities, and she actively attends meetings of organizations that she is not directly involved with in the community quarterly, at least.

“I get to have input and listen to what is happening in the neighborhood, and then I can bring that back and tell the people in my neighborhood and try and help those people,” Reid said. “I try to bring that to young people. It is important that we get out there. You can’t go to all of them, but you can go to some, and you can listen and share your thoughts.”

Upon learning that Reid was the recipient of the award, Suffolk County sheriff Errol Toulon expressed well-deserved congratulations as well. “Mary has been a pillar of the community, an advocate for justice and a friend to all,” he said. 


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