If lost, please return to Leonard DeBuck in Pine Island

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:33

Friends and colleagues toast his retirement from the Warwick Town Board PINE ISLAND — People, many of them calling themselves friends, celebrated Leonard DeBuck’s retirement after 14 years on the Warwick Town Board on Jan. 20 with a banquet at the firehouse in Pine Island. Catered by DeBuck’s favorite country market, CJ’s, the evening was emceed by Supervisor Michael Sweeton. Attendees included Michael Pillmeier, chairman of the Orange County Legislature, Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, town clerk Meg Quackenbush, mayors, judges, colleagues from the town and village boards through Warwick and a host of others who toasted the sod farmer who came from Michigan so many years ago to make the Black Dirt his home. Under DeBuck’s leadership the parks flourished and, along with the late Seymour Gordon, he helped formalize the preservation of development rights in the Town of Warwick, preserving thousands of acres of land and historic farms. A few words by many Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard read a letter of thanks, adding that the Village Board would plant a tree in DeBuck’s honor. He gets to choose what kind. Greenwood Lake Mayor Barbara Moore presented DeBuck with a kaleidoscope. Rabbitt called DeBuck a friend, and then described his devotion to make Warwick a better place. DPW commissioners Ben Astorino and Jeff Feagles said parks throughout Warwick are the best in the county before of DeBuck's efforts. Pillmeier added that because of DeBuck, the little park in Pine Island is now a gem. Sue Wilk from the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, who presented DeBuck with a commemorative clock, said: “I know just how lucky we are because Leonard is ours.” 'In this together’ Sweeton called DeBuck a role model for holding true to one’s beliefs and convictions in serving the public. In his remarks, DeBuck said he has so many good memories of his time on the board. But he added that he isn’t going anywhere. He plans to remain in Pine Island, where he is helping rebuild the sod farm after the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and to spend time with his family and in his hunting room. “We’re in this together,” DeBuck said. Finally, DeBuck’s fellow board members presented him with a new hunting cap with his name the telephone number in it - just in case he loses it.