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Celebrating a longtime West Hempstead resident


While the coronavirus has kept people from getting together, it didn’t stop the West Hempstead Historical Society from celebrating one of the community’s longtime residents and members. The group honored Helen Duryea, who is turning 92 on Saturday.

West Hempstead Historical Society vice president Lesley McAvoy said that while this is trying times for everyone, moments like this are “character building,” and that good character will be sorely needed in the coming weeks.

“Helen is one of the treasured individuals of my life and as she has no middle name, I am giving her one, character,” McAvoy said. “She exemplifies good character through her lifelong generosity to two communities, tireless devotion to her family and friends and deep-dish caring.”

As a 62-year-old woman who had pneumonia twice, McAvoy said she is looking for ways to do something positive during this pandemic. She said she has followed health guidelines, supported her family and friends with encouraging phone calls and finding interesting topics for the West Hempstead Historical Society.

“Hopefully on her birthday, I will be able to drive by her home with this sign on the car and she can see it safely from behind the glass,” McAvoy said. “I hope it gives her a little chuckle.”

Courtesy West Hempstead Historical Society; compiled by Nakeem Grant