Steady rain didn’t stop dozens of friends and family from coming out to show their support Friday as the Town of Brookhaven dedicated the corner of Ducky Lane and Cedar Road, West, in Mastic Beach, as Paul Breschard Way in honor of the late educator and first mayor of the former village.
Breschard, who moved Mastic Beach at 3 years old and was valedictorian of the first graduating class in the new William Floyd High School in 1967, lived with his family as a young boy on the same street that the sign now stands, said lifelong friend Fran Riker, who convinced the town to move the sign onto her property from across the street so it could be seen better.
Breschard’s wife, Jerri, said that fact was extra special. “It’s on the corner of a good friend’s house. I know it will be taken care of.”
Speakers included Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilman Dan Panico, representatives from county and state officials, as well as Jerri Breschard.
Each spoke of Breschard’s commitment to education — he was a teacher at William Floyd High School for 34 years — and his drive to improve Mastic Beach by spearheading the effort for it to become a village, which voters approved in 2010.
Breschard became the village’s first mayor but quit halfway through his term, citing health concerns. The village dissolved seven years later amid tension and turnover on the board.
Breschard died in 2016 at 66.
Attendees at Friday’s street sign unveiling reminisced with pride about their grassroots effort to start the village to improve conditions in the area and spoke of Breschard’s ability to lift a crowd.
“He would fill the house,” said Jerri Breschard. ”He was very inspirational,” adding that she is going to try to “document their journey” of creating the village, with the help of writings by her husband about his plans for Mastic Beach that she found after he died.
She thanked Panico, Romaine and Frank Fugarino, president of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Organization, for helping to make the sign a reality.
Addressing the crowd Friday, Breschard urged, “You want to do something for Paul? Get behind the Pattersquash Creek Civic Organization … and stand up for your community.”