By Eugenia Moskowitz
Main Street in Washingtonville was lined with a welcome brigade of over 100 people on Feb. 15 to celebrate the safe return home of Major Eamonn Moye from Afghanistan.
Back from deployment on Feb. 12, the idea among family, friends, and neighbors of Eamonn, his wife Celina, and their two children Lola and Gunner, was to assemble briefly in front of Betty’s Country Kitchen, where Celina would bring the unsuspecting Eamonn and their kids for a quiet Saturday breakfast. But this is Washingtonville, and once the phone tree was activated, the situation just grew.
Firetrucks from Monell, South Blooming Grove, and Salisbury Mills organized a giant suspended flag, boy and girl scout troops made welcome home signs, and residents with flags gathered along the curbs. A Blooming Grove Ambulance crew parked nearby to make sure everyone was safe in the sub-freezing weather, and people said it was a testament to how much this (not so) little town cares about its own that mothers braved the cold early with their small children to see their local hero come home.
To help organize the patriotic flash mob, Laurisa Sampson brought her megaphone and mega personality, Kevin Radday purchased banners, and Mayor Joe Bucco and his wife Leanne joined with Val Laudato, Colleen Doyle, Courtney Phillips, and countless others to make the event happen. Washingtonville Police Chief Brian Zaccaro came out with his sergeants and officers to welcome home his friend. “Eamonn was pretty surprised,” Celina said afterwards, relieved that she had actually been able to pull off all the secret texting to let organizers know they were on their way.
Overcome with emotion, Moye arrived and climbed from the family’s pickup truck flabbergasted, then walked down both sides of the street greeting people he hadn’t seen for a long time as well as people he’d never seen before in the same warm manner. “He’s the real deal,” one resident said, after experiencing Moye’s sincere handshake. “A great guy, and a class act.”
And then, along with his loved ones, Moye went into Betty’s with his family and enjoyed some well-deserved pancakes.
Caption 1: Moye greeted well-wishers under the Monell ladder truck’s giant flag organized by Washingtonville Fire District Chief Gary Hearn and First Asst. Chief Brian Bates.
Caption 2: From left to right: Lt. Col. James Moye, Eamonn’s daughter Lola, Eamonn, and Firefighter Bill Pappas of the South Blooming Grove fire department.
Caption 3: Celina Moye and son Gunner were greeted by Washingtonville Police Department Chief Brian Zaccaro and Washingtonville Mayor Joe Bucco.
Caption 4: Moye and his father, Lieutenant Colonel James Moye (retired).
Caption 5: Greeting neighbors Amanda Conklin and her daughter Vienna.