William Pellenz, Jr. is a 60 plus year resident of Sound Beach. He is the President of the Sound Beach Civic Association and a volunteer in the Sound Beach Fire Department.
Growing up as a child, what changes have you seen in the Sound Beach Community?
Many more people living here with the traffic that goes with it. In the 1950’s you knew the year round people by seeing house lights at night. [There are] more school busses. In 1953, there were two busses for all of Miller Place; one bus for the K-8th grade. First it picked up everyone east of Miller Place Rd., dropped them at school (now the North Country Rd. School) then picked up west of Miller Place Rd. The second bus picked up the high schoolers and dropped them off at Port Jefferson Jr. MS and HS.
What was Sound Beach like growing up as a child?
A very nice place to grow up. There was Woodhull beach where all the people from the Miller Place school side of Sound Beach went to the beach. It was very wide and much cleaner. The jetties weren’t installed yet, Mr. Cook’s ice cream truck was parked at the top and the old wooden ramp was for rain water and it was about three feet off the sand. The stairs were adjacent to it on the west side.
Why did you decide to remain in Sound Beach?
I love the people I volunteer with at the fire department and civics as well as the residents. The quiet serene rural nature of being “hidden” on the north shore makes it a very unique place.
What made you decide to become involved with the civic association?
I had worked for 34 years on the evening shift and couldn’t make the meetings and after being laid off and finding a day job I wanted to see what they did. I asked about honoring our members of the military that had died in service to their country (we have seven since WWII) and became involved in the Veterans Memorial. I was asked to join the Board of Directors and eventually became President in 2009.
What made you decide to become involved with the fire department?
Let’s see…shiny red (they were all red in 1974) trucks, wailing sirens and a Glover 1501 stutter tone air horn that says 'MOVE!' What little boy wouldn’t want to drive a fire truck, squirt water and put out a fire? Also, the rescue truck is equipped to turn any car into a convertible. The ambulance, while not as glamorous as the fire engines, had a need for daytime personnel and, while working evenings, was a perfect fit. Over the 28 years I was an EMT, I performed CPR successfully on two residents and assisted in the delivery of four babies. The friendship that exists at the fire department is what makes certain people into lifelong members and we have multiple generations as members.
What changes have you seen in the fire department from then and now?
Back when I joined in 1972 we had recently installed hydrants (1967) and the tanker was surplused. A home radio activation program was just started. This gave you the type and location of the alarm at home before responding. The first true modern “box” ambulance was purchased in 1974 and the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program was starting. I became an EMT in 1974 and refreshed every 3 years for 28 years.
What are some issues about the Sound Beach community that you would like to address?
The drugs and crime are in need of addressing. I would also like to see the Veterans’ Memorial be completed with the addition of the plaques honoring our seven KIA’s and the purchase of the town clock and statue that are planned. We are having issues obtaining governmental funding.
Is anyone in your community a local entrepreneur, volunteer, or high spirited individual? Patch reporter Kyle Reitan wants to hear from you. Please include the name of the local and why we should write about his or her accomplishments in the community.