Members of the Burton Potter American Legion Post and the North Fork NJROTC celebrated the dedication of the skating rink at the legion hall on the morning of Veterans Day.
Members of the Burton Potter American Legion Post and the North Fork NJROTC celebrated the dedication of the skating rink at the legion hall on the morning of Veterans Day.

While members of Greenport’s Burton Potter American Legion Post 185 are still fundraising to reopen the roller skating rink at their headquarters on Third Street, they took some time on the morning of Veterans Day to memorialize a champion of the rink project.

George Costello, Sr., who died while at work in the final days of 2012 at the age of 63, was a Vietnam veteran and Marine who lead a dedicated crew working to rehab the American Legion headquarters, which had been in severe disrepair for years.

On Veterans Day, his name was emblazoned over the door to the post, while a plaque on a rock dedicating the skating rink was unveiled in his memory.

Members of the North Fork NJROTC Color Guard stand at attention.
Members of the North Fork NJROTC Color Guard stand at attention.

Mayor David Nyce called the event “a sad and happy occasion,” adding that Mr. Costello was an “irreplaceable member of out community.”

George Costello’s brother, Tom Costello, said his brother “didn’t like neglect,” and took the project out of that moral calling.

“If he saw someone suffering, he would do something about it,” said Tom Costello. “He thought the only way to make things happen was to be part of a team. If he was here, he would have tears in his eyes because he was on your team, everyone who contributed.”

Mr. Costello’s friend Fred Schoenstein, a welder who worked on many projects with Mr. Costello, said that “everything he did was super heavy duty.”

Mr. Schoenstein said when he first looked at the condition of the American Legion Hall, he told Mr. Costello he thought the buidling was in very bad shape.

But Mr. Costello turned to his friend and said “don’t ever say that again,” then rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

Mr. Schoenstein then read a poem titled “The Champion’s Creed” in memory of Mr. Costello:

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster main;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

The fundraising continued Tuesday evening with a dinner to benefit the project at Skipper’s in Greenport.

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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