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Letter: Rename Skelos park for hero Marine

Some Long Islanders want the Dean G. Skelos

Some Long Islanders want the Dean G. Skelos Sports Complex in Rockville Centre to be renamed after the former state senator was convicted of corruption charges. Credit: Steven Sunshine

The conviction of State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos highlights the absurdity of a sports complex named after him in Rockville Centre, the same community that Ronald Winchester called home [“Petition: No ‘Skelos’ park,” News, Dec. 22]. If you don’t know Winchester’s name, it’s past time that you do.

Appreciation of the political achievements of sitting politicians has its place, but our parks and our public spaces should not be part of that recognition. It shouldn’t take a public shaming for us to see this was the wrong gesture from the start. If our elected officials aren’t humble enough to recognize the undeserved recognition, we need to remind them.

On Sept. 3, 2004, eight days into his second tour in Iraq, a roadside bomb detonated and took the lives of USMC 1st Lt. Winchester and three other Marines. No public park should ever be named after a living politician at taxpayer expense so long as our lives are graced, even briefly, with citizens like Winchester.

Rockville Centre helped Winchester become the man he was. The village should recognize that it benefited from his life and his service. Let’s not allow this opportunity to recognize a real hometown hero slip away. Let’s rename the Dean Skelos Sports Complex for Ronald Winchester.

James Coll, Seaford

Editor’s note: The writer is the founder of, a nonprofit organization advocating for political reform.