Anthony Parlato-The Gentle Giant My family and I had moved to Manorville ten years ago from Massapequa, New York. My husband and I sought a better life for our four young children with open spaces on Long island to pursue their love for dirt-biking as well as more room for our family to grow. My children were very athletic taking up sports such as basketball as well as baseball, karate and gymnastics. Since it was important for my children to have a good Catholic education, we enrolled our children in Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Center Moriches. My youngest entered kindergarten, my twins 3rd grade and my oldest 6th grade. At this time, our oldest son Joseph played for Our Lady Queen of Apostles (OLQA) basketball team. The coach, Anthony Parlato was a skilled athlete, soft-spoken and had a wonderful disposition such that all who met him, children as well as adults truly loved him. I came to find out that Coach Anthony not only coached Our Lady Queen of Apostles kids but he also coached kids in the Center Moriches MYO program as well as public school children in soccer, etc. He also taught Mathematics in Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead. Not just an athlete, but a scholar too! Simply amazing! Every Christmas, he would gather all of the children (Public school as well as Catholic school) and have them assemble in the gym of OLQA, to wrap presents for the more unfortunate kids in the area. He did this for years, never seeking acknowledgement for his kind deeds. Coach Anthony taught my children how to play fair and not give up no matter what the odds. I truly believe that Anthony Parlato was an angel sent by God from heaven to instill into the kids of Center Moriches, Manorville, Eastport, East Moriches, Huntington, Riverhead, West Hampton and countless other areas , the values of good citizenship, truth, sportsmanship, kindness, love and compassion for mankind. He truly left a positive impression on my children, myself, and many others never asking for anything in return. A few months ago, I do believe at the age of 44, Coach Anthony collapsed in his kitchen before his usual early run. He was the epitome of health, so physically fit. Unfortunately, for my family and all who knew him lost a gentle giant that day. The people of Long Island gasped in disbelief that this man, a man who did so much for the youth of today and the community had passed on. He would always tell the kids to “help somebody today.” That is how he lived his life, helping others.How could someone so physically fit die at such a young age? I ask myself this question every day but I now see that Coach Anthony’s mission on this earth was to help mold the youth of today into the well rounded citizens of tomorrow. And that he did. People came from miles away to pay tribute to him. I could not believe the Such a meek, gentle man impacted the people of Long Island in such a huge way. Unfortunately, Long Island lost the best of the best. I am jealous of the fact that God has him back in his bosom, in heaven, not here with us. Coach Anthony has a loving wife, and two children, a son and a daughter. I did not know his daughter but I was honored to have known his son, Anthony Jr. He is a true reflection of his father. He too is kind, a very well- rounded young man and very athletic and physically fit. I am sure that his father is very proud of him. May he carry on in his dad’s footsteps, doing good for all, just as his father did. I would also like to honor Coach Anthony’s father, Tony Parlato. Tony has raised an unbelievable son. For that he should be so proud. It is difficult for a parent to lose a child; it is not natural in the scheme of life….but Tony is strong and I am sure he will continue to coach MYO basketball in Center Moriches which he has done for years, not because he loves it so but in honor of his son Anthony….You see the Parlato’s are the rock of Long island. How they have touched so many in so short a time is a miracle in itself…. A few months before the death of Coach Anthony, another tragedy occurred. Coach Anthony’s house burned down and they lost everything. I came to find out that his father Tony opened his door for his son’s family. That is what family is all about and this is what the people of Long Island are made of. Not only is Long Island a beautiful place to live, but its people are so vibrant, so alive. I am proud to have known coach Anthony Parlato, his dad, Tony and his son. I could not let the opportunity go by in honoring such a wonderful man, Coach Anthony Parlato. I want everyone to know that it is because of his love of community and Long island that so many kids and adults strive to become all that they can be, the future stronghold of Long Island. Farewell Coach Anthony. Until we meet again. Your legacy will live on in the hearts of all who knew you. Long Island has lost such a treasure but in retrospect has gained so much because of you. I smile when I hear your name, thanking you over and over again for being a part of our lives…..especially mine. I hear you whispering in my ear ever so often, “help somebody today.” And that I will, I promise!