Last Friday, I wore a red blazer, white shirt and blue slacks. I felt it was appropriate to look patriotic as I entered the new Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, NY. The location, situated on the old Grumman property on Long Island, was the actual place where the first spaceship was built.
I took my seat among the hundreds of people who were there for the Center’s christening. The Morrelly Homeland Security Center was named after the late Ken Morrelly, Long Island Forum for Technology’s past President who was robbed his life at 61. Ken had a dream to build a center on Long Island and spent endless hours with New York State Senator Dean Skelos to make it happen. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see the site open.
The Center will brings together the combined skills and commitment of industry, government and academia and focus on turning ideas into market driven products and systems to serve the homeland security needs of the region and the state, while creating jobs in New York.
The christening was held on Friday, March 5, 2010. Many local and state politicians and public officials spoke about the center and about Ken Morrelly’s commitment to it. Of those who spoke, included New York State Senator Dean Skelos, Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, Congressman Peter King and Congressman Steve Israel.
“Long Island has always been a place of job growth and development,” said NYS Senator Skelos.
A 10-minute video premiered at the christening and focused on the history of technology on Long Island.
When Rich Rotanz, Executive Director of the Morrelly Center introduced the New York Fire Department Commissioner, Salvatore Casono, he announced that the lecture hall that we all sat in would be named the “343 Lecture Hall,” in memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11th.
At the end of the presentation, Catherine Morrelly, Ken’s wife, spoke. “Ken was a creator who knew how to pick a team to make things happen,” she said. “He loved Long Island, New York State and the USA. He was a true patriot.”
Instead of smashing a bottle of champagne on the wall, Catherine announced that everyone received a small bottle of champagne and pushed a button, which showed a photo of a ship and patriotic music. It was a very uplifting experience.
As I left, I smiled and thought that the building was amazing, “a real life 24.” However, I just kept thinking that I hope we never need to use it for first response or homeland security.