On Saturday, Sept. 10, NYS Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and NYS Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti (D-Port Washington) posthumously honored Marine Corps Veteran and beloved community member Lance Corporal Matthew A. Falcone, by officially dedicating a bridge over the Northern State Parkway in Nassau County in his name. Today's dedication ceremony, held in Mary Jane Davies Green in Manhasset, NY, followed passage of a law in New York State by Senator Kaplan and Assemblywoman Sillitti, S.3107B/A.3483, to formally designate the bridge as the “Lance Corporal Matthew A. Falcone Memorial Bridge.”
Lance Corporal Falcone was affectionately known as “Mr. Manhasset” by the many people who knew him, having dedicated so much of his life to local civic involvement in addition to his dedicated service to our Nation in the Armed Forces. A tireless advocate for the Veteran community, Lance Corporal Falcone was a Past President of the Marine Corps League, a member of the Town of North Hempstead’s Veteran’s Advisory Committee, as well as Past President of American Legion Post 304 in Manhasset. An active civic leader, he held leadership positions and donated his time and talents to organizations including the Church of Saint Mary, the Manhasset Community Club, IBEW Local 3, the Knights of Columbus, the Manhasset Public Library, the Kiwanis Club, and the North Hempstead Country Club. The “Lance Corporal Matthew A. Falcone Memorial Bridge” will honor the lasting legacy of this incredibly deserving individual in a place where thousands travel every day.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “Matt Falcone was an extraordinarily special person whose generosity of spirit was a constant source of inspiration to me and so many others. I will always remember Matt not only for his dedication to his country, his fellow Veterans, his family, and his community, but also for his big heart, and his inability to say no when someone needed help. He was a true giant in our community, and I’m honored to share his legacy with everyone by dedicating this bridge in his name that so many of us travel every day.”
Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti said “Today the Manhasset community came together to celebrate the life of Matthew Falcone and dedicate the Shelter Rock Road Bridge in his honor. I am so glad that we were able to join together with his family, friends, and the community to highlight the legacy and the impact he had on all of us. A Veteran, Civic Leader, and Community Activist. Mr. Falcone was affectionately known as Mr. Manhasset. His community service and achievements, along with today’s dedication, is a testament to all he has done for our community and our country.“
The event, which was attended by approximately 200 local residents, friends and family of Lance Corporal Falcone, was a fitting tribute to a man who was so beloved by the Manhasset community and beyond. The Manhasset High School String quartet played a beautiful musical ensemble as guests arrived. American Legion Post 304 led the Presentation of Colors and Post Commander John Iacono led the pledge of allegiance. Reagan Stone performed a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and Father Dominik Wegiel of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church led a moving invocation. The event included remarks from Senator Anna Kaplan, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, USMC Veteran Bruce Marsanico, and Lance Corporal Falcone's daughter, Denise Cestone. As a commemorative sign replicating those that now grace the Falcone Bridge was revealed for the crowd, the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums played a moving rendition of Amazing Grace, as a massive flag graced the sky above courtesy of the Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department.
Following the event, Lance Corporal Falcone's family joined Senator Kaplan to unveil signage at the Falcone Bridge itself, which spans the Northern State Parkway in North Hills and carries Shelter Rock Road, a gateway to the Manhasset community.
Senator Kaplan added "I wanted to find a way to honor Matty that was larger than life, because Matty was a larger than life kind of a guy. I thought a bridge would be a fittingly big way to recognize him, but most importantly, bridges bring communities together, and that's what Matty was all about."
“Matthew Falcone was an institution in Manhasset, rightfully earning him the affectionate moniker of ‘Mr. Manhasset.’ I always knew Matt as a man dedicated to his family, his community, and to service, both to his country during his time in the Marine Corps, and to those in need that he came across in life,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said. “I will forever be thankful for his wisdom, guidance, and generosity in helping me establish the St. Vincent de Paul Society. This posthumous dedication in his honor is a well-deserved tribute to his enduring legacy.”
Town of North Hempstead Council Member Veronica Lurvey said “Matt Falcone was a dedicated community member who served our country and community faithfully his entire life. I first met Matt through the American Legion Post 304, the Kiwanis Club, and the Towns Veterans Advisory committee, and I was privileged to call him a friend. He loved his friends, his fellow veterans and his county. Most of all, he loved and was so proud of his family. We miss him, and we are privileged to honor him in this way.”