Over the last ten years people in the Larchmont/ Mamaroneck community have joined together to support Richard Kemper Park
and we would like to take the opportunity this holiday season to thank them for doing so.
Richard Kemper Park outside of Mamaroneck High School honors the individuals from Larchmont and Mamaroneck who died fighting fascism. William Farrington was one of them. William graduated from Mamaroneck High School in 1933, from New York University in 1938, from Harvard Law School in 1941. In 1945, at the age of 30, he was killed in Germany. You can lift his and the others’ spirits by going to the web site established by the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund (KMPPF) (kempermemorialpark.org) and clicking on their profiles. “The primary goals of the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund,” in its own words, “are to preserve, protect and restore the Richard M. Kemper Park in its present location and configuration and to educate the community about the history and significance of the Park as a memorial to the veterans of World War II.”
Richard Kemper Park also promotes the values Mr. Farrington fought to defend. Those are the values we celebrate during the holidays and which guide our behavior throughout the year: respect for others who may not share our ethnicity, religion or political views; empathy, the golden rule, democracy, diversity, education and rational discourse. With that thought in mind the Richard Kemper Foundation for Promoting Human Rights Education was established. The Foundation sponsors a human rights essay contest at Mamaroneck High school and is hoping to build an endowment that will enable it to offer a human rights scholarship every year to a deserving student at MHS.
Ten years ago the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund and the Kemper Foundation for Promoting Human Rights Education did not exist and few people knew about the Park. But thanks especially to the following members of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community that is no longer the case:
- Jan Northrup, the president of the Preservation Fund, Susan Amlicke, the vice-president, Mark Schumer the treasurer and every other member of the KMPPF.
- MHS teachers Adam Sobel and Mary Cronin who have overseen the essay contest for nine years.
- Mamaroneck High School principal Mark Orfinger who played a key role in getting the essay contest started.
- Superintendent Paul Fried, School Board President Janet Tse, and all the other current members of the School Board who have supported the Preservation Fund and the Kemper Foundation.
- Elizabeth Clain, Carol Scheffler, Don Keene, Tina Pantginis, Janice Landrum, and other members of the MHS faculty who have supported the essay contest.
- Rich Darcy who teaches social studies at the Hommocks Middle School and every year visits the park with his students
after inviting veterans from the community to speak to them.
- Tom’s Amlicke whose pro bono legal work helped get both the Kemper Foundation and the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund off the ground.
- Ed Cofino, the person most responsible for the Preservation Fund’s excellent web site.
- John Esposito who developed a plan for landscaping the Park and putting in a sprinkler system.
- Liza Strauss, Chelsie Walters, and Rick Marsico members of the Kemper Foundation board.
- Ed and Cheryl Murray, Howie Heyel and the other members of the American Legion who have supported efforts to maintain the Park.
- Tony Marsella, a World War II veteran whose brother’s name is on the monument in the park and who because of his remarkable ability to lead an assembly in song has been, along with his wife Jo, an indispensable presence at innumerable events held in Richard Kemper Park.
- Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keefe, New York Assemblyman Ron Tocci and other public officials who have actively supported the Park.
- Eileen Mason, a producer for LMC-TV; Paige Rentz, a reporter for the Sound and Town Report; Judy Silverstein, the editor of the Larchmont Gazette, Polly Kreisman, editor of theLoop and other members of the media who have covered stories about the Park and the events that have taken place there.
- Derek Ward, the KMPPF’s summer intern who did research on the individuals whose names are engraved on the monument in the Park.
- And all the many students at MHS who have participated in the Richard Kemper Memorial essay contest over the years.
Just knowing the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community consists of people like them lifts our spirits. We hope it lifts your spirits too.
Have a happy, happy New Year.
Paul Cantor and Yvonne Myska Lopaur
President and Vice President
The Richard Kemper Foundation for Promoting Human Rights Education