The best word to describe Flo and Alden Olsson, this year’s grand marshals of the Bayport-Bluepoint St. Patrick’s Day Parade: humble.
The couple, who will be married 60 years this June, have donated countless hours of service to bettering their community. The Olssons have done everything from restoration work at Meadow Croft in Sayville to youth guidance at the Bayport Methodist Church.
“It doesn’t seem like we’ve done that much,” said Flo, a retired teacher who worked in the Sayville and Bayport school system for more than 25 years. “If we see a need, we just take our hands out of our pockets and get them in there.”
For the last 15 years she has been at the Bayport-Bluepoint Public Library, working at the circulation desk and organizing the cased exhibits. Alden also worked in town at the former Shand’s Market for more than 15 years, after retiring from a career in advertising in Manhattan.
The Olssons raised their three children in the area, who all attended Bluepoint schools, and are now the proud grandparents of nine.
“That’s who they are,” said Lenore Ringer Prezioso, 47, secretary at the local chamber of commerce. “They are the epitome of people who do things just because they have always done them, and that’s what they do. They don’t stand around for the accolades, it’s just onto the next thing.”
Chris Cavanaugh, 52, parade committee chairman, started the Bayport-Bluepoint St Patrick’s Day Parade 22 years ago. Along with 14 others, the committee votes to choose the grand marshal as a way to honor someone that has had an impact in the community.
“They’re just a gem in our community,” Cavanaugh said. “We’re all very proud to have them, this couple, lead us down Montauk Highway for the parade.”
This year’s parade will be held at 11:30 a.m. March 11. It runs along Montauk Highway from Bayport to Bluepoint and ends on Bluepoint Avenue. The rain date will be the following Sunday, March 18.
“They’re all work, work, work, it’s nice that they’re being recognized,” said Gene Horton, 70, a local historian who met the Olssons over 30 years ago in the Bayport Heritage Association where they were all board members.
Karl Auwaerter, 44, a local businessman, considers Flo Olsson one of his favorite teachers growing up. She was Auwaerter’s first- and third-grade teacher, and according to him, ran a very pleasant classroom.
“We call them a super couple. They’re like Bayport’s greatest generation,” said Auwaerter. “It’s a simple recipe for them, they lead by example, for the good of everyone in the community.”
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