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James Gottlieb Dugout Dedication
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     On March 29th 2008, after a year and a half in the works the Carey High School Baseball Field Dugouts were officially dedicated in the name of the late Mr. James Gottlieb.  It was a project that developed through a concerted effort by friends, neighbors, community members, and complete strangers.
     In any way possible, these caring people would let Mrs. Elizabeth Gottlieb and her wonderful kids James Jr., Brian and Alicia know that their friends from Garden City South, Franklin Square and elsewhere had not forgotten their tragic and untimely loss.
     James Gottlieb was the regular guy next door who lived and worked for his loving family.  He was an active member of the community.  His 12 years of service in the Garden City South Little League, where he dedicated much of his Spring and Summertime year after year, spoke of his dedication, unselfishness and kindness.
 
The Idea     
 
     After a brainstorming conversation with the Carey High School Baseball Team in Decmber of 2006 about new dugouts as a potential fundraiser topic at a team meeting the dedicated dugouts were about to become a reality.
     At that meeting, John Punis, like so many others who had played in the Little League with Mr. Gottlieb as a coach or as an opposing coach, mentioned the idea to his parents.  One parent who attended Carey HS, lived in the area, and was deeply affected by this tragedy felt that something special should, and could, be done.  Days later a phone call to the Varsity Coach Marc Hedquist led to a conversation with then Athletic Director Ed Quinlan which led to a forum with Principal Douglas Monaghan who was very eager and instrumental in explaining the significance of this project to the School Board.  At that same time the idea was brought to the Gottlieb Family who graciously approved the kind proposition.
     After the Board unanimously approved the project, work began in the Summer of 2007 with the preparation of the dugouts foundation.  Next came the delivery and installation of the materials in November which led to the dugout shell.  In early March 2008, the painting and artwork, the benches, the helmet and bat rack were all added to bring a quality of dugouts only found at the professional ranks.
      So when the Seahawks of 2008 opened the season they would know, as would every team to play there after which included all of the Garden City South and Franklin Square Little League Teams, that as Mr. Andrew Monteleone of the Garden City South Little League so eloquently put it, "The Home Team will always have an advantage because their 10th player is already there."
    
 
Thank You List
    
 
H. Frank Carey High School Participants
 
Principal Douglas Monaghan-who helped make the project a reality by explaining to the School Board the significance of dedication.
 
Head Custodian Ronnie Pickett and His Crew-who helped from day one as they went above and beyond to make the construction possible.  They were instrumental in painstakingly assembling and installing the benches in time for the Seahawks opener.
 
Athletic Directors Ed Quinlan (Retired) and Matt McLees-who helped get Coach Hedquist and the request pointed in the right direction.
 
Coach Marc Hedquist and the Rest of the Baseball Staff-who contacted and received input from the Gottlieb Family, wrote the dedication for the plaque, recruited Carey High School staff members to contribute their time, and arranged for the team to unload the thousands of pounds of materials.
 
Bart Badalucco-who engineered and created the Helmet and Bat Racks with the assistance of dozens of students in the Sewanhaka Central School District.
 
Gina Curiale and the Rest of the Art Department-who painted and designed the artwork on the dugout.  She also organized the contest for the artwork which would later become the design and logos for the dugouts.
 
Community Participants
 
Super Stud Building Products-First, foremost and by far donated the most for this project.  They donated the metal wall panels, metal joists, cement board, stucco materials and accessories.  They also provided engineering, supervison and designs for the dugouts.
               Owner: Ray Frobisilo
               Sales:   Chip Ash
               Sales:   Chris Chimera (Coach Hedquist's HS Teammate) who arranged for the donation, supervised and helped physically build the dugouts over the Thanksgiving weekend.
 
DeMasco General Contracting-who provided insurance, helped donate concrete, roofing and clean up as well as assist in the construction.
               Owner:  Donnie DeMasco
 
City Lumber-who donated all plywood and other materials for the dugouts, helmet racks and bat racks.  They also provided all the trucking for the materials including Super Stud's.
               Owners:  Richard Spodak, Jason Spodak, and George Marone
 
Kass Industrial Supply-who donated all fasteners, screws, tarps and heaters.
               Owners:  Alan Kass and Martin Kass
 
Sew Fine Embroidery-who donated the hats given to the Gottlieb Family.
               Owner:  Frank Caliendo
 
Garden City South Little League-who were represented by Andrew Monteleone.
 
Mrs. Zahradka- who supplied and hung up all the balloons for the event.
 
 
Men Who Donated Their Time and Skills
 
Don Raitz-who provided the AutoCAD drawings of design submitted for approval.
 
Pete Atha, Kenny Eccher and Phil Casagnau-Carpentry Foremen on some of the NY City's largest construction projects who gave up their Thanksgiving Weekend to build the dugouts.
 
Chris Chifalo-who did the concrete work
 
Donald Kreinbihl-who provided the welding services for the dugouts.
 
Tony Luna-who lives in Maryland and while visiting family in NY gave up his Thanksgiving Weekend to be a part of the construction of the dugouts.
 
 
Last But Not Leasts
 
The Punis Family-John, Donna and John Jr. whose generosity knows no bounds!
 
 
*****Franklin Square Herald Writes...
 

For the love of the game

 

By: By Dan Israeli

April 03, 2008

 

 

"A loving husband and father, James Gottlieb gave not only to his family, but to the Franklin Square/Garden City South community as well."
      
      The above words are engraved on a plaque that is mounted on the brand new home dugout at H. Frank Carey High School's baseball field, in honor of a man who tragically had his like taken away from him in January of 2005. Both newly constructed dugouts were dedicated in a special ceremony on March 29, before Carey's season opener, where family and friends of the late James Gottlieb gathered to see him remembered for one of his greatest passions in life, the game of baseball.
      "James loved baseball, from little league to high school to the pros," said Elizabeth Gottlieb, his widowed wife. She stood in the middle of the field with her three children, James, 22, Brian, 20, and Alicia, 11, all coached by their father in Garden City South Little League, as they were presented with the plaque recognizing Gottlieb's years of service. "He would be very proud," added Elizabeth. "He's probably here with us right now."
      For those who knew him, the dedication ceremony provided some positive closure, just over three years after Gottlieb's heinous murder. On Jan. 5, 2005, Gottlieb was driving to his Garden City home from his job as a bank manager at a HSBC branch in Cedarhurst, when Reginald Gousse, of Queens, impersonating a cop, pulled him over. Gousse was a convicted felon, with a prior record of committing similar crimes. After a struggle to obtain Gottlieb's key to the bank, Gousse shot him twice. Gottlieb died an hour later at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre due to a massive loss of blood.
      An unforgiving Gousse, who denied killing Gottlieb, was sentenced to life in prison without parole two years ago, after an overwhelming amount of evidence proved his guilt. While the verdict provided the real closure for the Gottlieb family and their friends, it did little to bring back the memory of their lost loved one. The dugout project, two years in the making, was a collaborative effort of many community participants, spawned in 2006 when John Punis Jr., of the Carey JV baseball squad, suggested that the dugouts be dedicated in Gottlieb's honor.
      "When people started hearing about it, money came pouring in," said Bart Badalucco, a technology teacher at Carey. He was one of several school participants to pitch in for the project, which received funding from a number of outside suppliers, most notably Super Stud Building Products, which donated roughly $20,000 worth of materials.
      Andrew Monteleone, president of Garden City South Little League, said he was impressed with the finished project, especially considering the man it was dedicated to. "He gave so much to the community," Monteleone said. "He would still be coaching his daughter if he was alive today. Jim will always be our tenth player on the field when Carey and Garden City South little league play ball." The little league has already established a James Gottlieb scholarship for $500, which will be awarded to each a boy and girl this week.
      Carey Principal Douglas Monaghan said he was impressed with the effort put into the dugout project. "It shows what great communities Franklin Square and Garden City South are," he said. "It's a tribute to such fine people, who were devastated with the loss of one of our most amazing citizens." Both of Gottlieb's sons attended Carey and played for the baseball team, while daughter Alicia attends Washington Street School.
      The dugouts, which have been worked on since last summer, are magnificent cement structures with beautifully finished wood benches and equipment racks inside, comparable to those of professional teams. As she spoke to the crowd in attendance, Elizabeth Gottlieb acknowledged all those who lent a helping hand.
      "On behalf of my family, I want to thank everyone involved in the project," she said. "My husband truly loved the game of baseball. He is missed by us, and it is an honor to see that so many of you miss him as much as we do."


 

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