February 26, 2024
Keith DeMatteis

Keith DeMatteis and Family Bestowed the Tom Ryan Memorial Award at the Graybeards’ 21st Dinner Dance

Keith DeMatteis is the Director of his family’s foundation that helps to support local charities throughout the community. In the following article, an overview of the recent award ceremony honoring the family is detailed, with an insight into the foundation, and local non-profit, the Graybeards.

Saturday, February 4, 2023, marks the Graybeards’ 21st dinner dance held at the Rockaway Hotel. During the event, Keith DeMatteis and family were honored to earn the Tom Ryan Memorial Award for their countless years of philanthropic endeavors across the peninsula.

It was a night of fun, charity, and appreciation — and there’s no other event so fitting for such a giving family like the DeMatteis clan.

Keith DeMatteis of Nassau County Presents…

Keith DeMatteis’ family foundation formed in 2001 by Al DeMatteis and his wife, Peggy, aims to support a plethora of charities associated with social services, education, and health and human services to increase the quality of life for those in the community. And it has led them to gracefully accept the Tom Ryan Memorial Award from the Graybeards at the full-of-fun dinner dance.

Keith DeMatteis noted that he was proud to join his mother and siblings in accepting their commitment and dedication to helping others throughout the Rockaway community. Many of their friends and family members turned up to support them, further emphasizing the giving spirit in them all.

In true charitable fashion, Keith DeMatteis also went on to mention the other award winners of the evening, shining light on many who’ve done well by others.

Lynda Collins was one such honoree. She was awarded the Don Hart Memorial Award for her never-ending efforts in and around the Rockaway community.

The Tan family also received a $35,000 check, and an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World, thanks to the donations collected from Eugene Brennan’s Stockings for a Cause initiative.

For the final presentation, the ever-coveted Pot o’ Gold 50/50 racked up a solid $300,000 jackpot, which one lucky Rockaway local ended up winning.

As per Keith DeMatteis’ statement, the organizations on Rockaway Peninsula, including the Graybeards themselves, embody the true American spirit. They all share their time, energy, talent, and treasure, giving back to the close-knit community.

It’s safe to say the fundraiser was a whopping great success and will allow the Graybeards to continue helping those who need it in the Rockaway area.

Keith DeMatteis

Meeting the Graybeards

Keith DeMatteis, his family, and the other award winners of the evening wouldn’t have received them without the Graybeards. And while many in the community will undoubtedly know who they are, there are plenty who don’t — and their extraordinary deeds deserve to be shared with wider regions.

The Graybeards came about during the aftermath of the worst act of terrorism the country had ever seen, September 11, 2001, and the devastating crash of American Airlines flight number 587.

At the time, the group of men was loosely connected through a basketball league dubbed the Graybeards. However, they soon realized what a profound positive impact they could provide, thanks to the diversity of their group. And thus, they formally crafted a non-profit organization, calling it Graybeards — a wonderfully fitting name for such a heart-wrenching yet -warming backstory.

In keeping with the spirit of how they met, they dedicated the 501(c)(3) entity to enhancing the lives of themselves and others and promoting friendships with members throughout the Rockaway peninsula.

The Graybeards’ Mission

Alongside establishing lasting, meaningful connections, the Graybeards’:

  • Foster the community’s welfare.
  • Develop and teach a sense of personal obligation to the neighborhood.
  • Care for people in the community during their times of need.
  • Promote social events aimed at bettering relationships and fundraising for related causes.

The Graybeards’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

The group has given lovingly to many causes, but one cause stands out – members have given over $1.1 million in donations for Sandy Relief Efforts. While the administrative costs were high, the Graybeards funded it all themselves, ensuring every cent earmarked for the Relief was used as intended.

The money found its way to over 1,000 fire and flood victims throughout Rockaway – from Breezy Point and Broad Channel to Far Rockaway.

A Charitable Evening for Charitable People

Thanks to the Graybeards, Keith DeMatteis, his family, and the other honorees at the 21st dinner dance, many people have experienced a higher quality of life. They will certainly continue their efforts as time ticks on.