Erin Geismar spoke with Muriel Corcoran, president of the Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck executive board (the camp serves special-needs children) for our Town Focus in the Moriches this week. Corcoran gives her impressions of the community.
Are you from here originally?
I was raised in Shirley, mostly, but I’ve been married for 45 years and we’ve lived in Moriches all that time.
Why did you settle in East Moriches?
We always liked the area. I married someone I went to high school with.
What do you like about it?
The closeness of everyone and the willingness to provide help for those who need it. There are some pretty wealthy people in the area but it’s the everyday people that care about each other. Once, there was a house that burned down in East Moriches, and I heard this story that the kid was in school and somebody asked how they could help and he said, ‘You don’t have to worry, my Pop-Pop is a Rotarian.’ I just love that story, it shows that even the kids know that the community is here to help.
How has the community changed?
It’s only getting bigger, as far as more people coming in. With the economy the way it is, we have a lot of people out of work. They’re seeing more people come to the food pantry.
You grew up nearby. What sets this community apart from those around it?
It’s a small community. I think we help the surrounding communities, too. At our events, people come from the other communities around us. People live here for many, many years. Children are helping work at the businesses their parents started; they go away to school and come back to take over. The best-kept secret is the camp. The Rotary has been doing this for 65 years and I don’t think people know what we do here.
Tell me a little about the camp. How many people does it help?
I just happened to look at the numbers for the last three years. We had 325 kids this year, 357 last year, and 360 the year before that. We can accommodate 50 kids per session. We have nine sessions per summer.
Do you think the camp is a part of the Moriches community?
I think so. If we’re looking for donations for something we’re running, every store in town wants to help out. A lot of people know about the camp because they come to the Spooky Walk.
What challenges does the community face?
Right now, unemployment. Also, the price of gas. People that do have jobs have to travel to get there and they can’t afford it.
Define the character of the community?
Helpful. And it’s a young community, too, people like to mingle. It’s young regardless of age. Many people here are retired but they’re young at heart. I got to an exercise class and you would never know the women in there are in their 70s and 80s.