Pat Hahn, Center Moriches
Community association: Center Moriches Watchdog Community Association founder and president, Boy Scout Troop 800 scoutmaster, Center Moriches Beautification Committee member
How long have you lived in Center Moriches?
A little over 32 years. I’m retired from the state of New York, I was CSEA president. I’m from West Islip, and I lived briefly in Bohemia, where I rented, and then came here.
What attracted you to Center Moriches?
How nice it was. The pristine of the community. The school district was small, for families. I like knowing that we’re close-knit, we help each other through different organizations, different churches.
How have you seen it change?
With the school taxes going up as readily as they are and more people losing their homes with the economy. That also knocks business. You’ve got a small, quaint little town that has businesses that have been here for generations and they start to squander. They’re our neighbors and now the young guys are running the business and they’re struggling. There’s not enough residents here to support the town. That’s the change.
Tell me more about the organization you started, the Center Moriches Watchdog Community Association.
My wife and I started it. It’s a civic association, we represent 7,000 residents of Center Moriches. We also incorporate the neighborhood watch, we are like the watchdogs of Center Moriches. We work directly with Suffolk County Police Department to help coordinate the neighborhood watch. We also deal with civic problems in Center Moriches.
Our recent accomplishments include the crosswalk on Frowein and Railroad Avenue, and the left turn signal on the light and raising the height of the ‘No Turn on Red’ sign so you can actually see it.
Recently, we’re pushing for a Main Street crosswalk by Bank Street Park.
We also have a coalition called Moriches in the kNOw, we co-sponsor that. We combat drugs in the area because that goes along with the neighborhood watch and all that. It’s a major problem and parents don’t know where to go, where to turn. And it makes us aware of what’s going on. We’re in touch with the narcotics division, with COPE and with the commander of the 7th [precinct].
In terms of Neighborhood Watch, what is the benefit of your organization if any community could start a Neighborhood Watch on its own?
We have a hotline, we have a calling post to reach out to anyone in our organization. If the schools says there is a perp following a student, I can make a call and all eyes and ears are on the situation. Normally, you have one neighborhood and one watch leader. If there is a problem and they reach out to the police and are not satisfied with the result, that’s it. We figured we’d incorporate it so there is more attention. I also provide resources on my website, like a description sheet, so if you see something happen you can download the form and write it down so you have a reference when you make a report to the police.
And you’re involved with the Boy Scouts?
Yes, I’m the troopmaster for the Boy Scouts and also oversee the Cub Scouts.
We’re the Color Guard for the Flight 800. There was a woman on the flight, Virginia Perez Holtz, and her mom and dad owned the Pathmark. I used to do security there, so I knew her as a little girl. She was on that flight. So when I registered the Boy Scouts, I asked for the number 800, and we got it. Now we serve as a memorial to Flight 800.
What makes Center Moriches unique?
Pride. We take pride in our town. We push to get things done. We were able to get the $3 million grant for our town. Our sidewalks were decrepit, they were unsafe.
We also take pride in how the community was established and working to restore that. We want to maintain the history.