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New recreation center officially opens, honors late counselors

The Malone-Muhall Recreation Center in Lido Beach will

The Malone-Muhall Recreation Center in Lido Beach will be part of the Camp Anchor program. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Hundreds gathered in Lido Beach Saturday at the dedication of the new Malone-Mulhall Recreation Center, named after three counselors killed enroute to summer camp nearly four years ago.

Michael Mulhall, 22, Jamie Malone, 22, and her sister Paige Malone, 19, all of Floral Park, died on July 15, 2010, after their car careened into a tree along the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Roosevelt. They were headed to work at Camp ANCHOR, a Hempstead Town program for the mentally and physically handicapped based in Lido Beach.

Damien Gallo, 35, stood in front of the new 16,196-square-foot building Saturday. Gallo, an adult camper, said he was "very happy" to have a new building and to have it named for the counselors. "We have three angels smiling down on us," said Gallo, of Wantagh.

The new building will give a permanent home to program participants who were without a brick-and-mortar building, officials said. The one-floor recreation center with a wave-curved roof and porthole windows will serve the program's 1,600 participants. The blue-and-white painted building includes a gymnasium that also serves as an auditorium, a full kitchen, a computer room and a nurse's office.

Families of the three counselors were joined by elected officials, town workers, ANCHOR participants and religious leaders at the dedication.

Justine Mulhall, Michael's younger sister and an ANCHOR counselor, said Saturday was a day for giving thanks.

"Thanks to the parents of the campers whose mission it was to build this building," Mulhall said. " . . . Thanks to Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead. It was your courage and determination to see this through to completion."

"Thank you Jamie, Paige and Michael for continuing to inspire us every day," she said.

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