There aren’t enough good things to say about Raymond Nine, according to many Southold Town residents.
The 76-year-old Mattituck native and local businessman has given back to his community in numerous ways, including more than 60 years of service in the Mattituck Fire Department.
He became active in the chamber in the early 1970s, serving as its president in 1981-82, and served a term as president of the board of directors at Mattituck Presbyterian Church. He also ran his own trash collection company and, after selling that, started his own sand and gravel business.
On Monday, it was time for the community to give back.
The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce held a surprise ceremony to dedicate the park on Main Road in front of CVS Pharmacy in Mr. Nine’s honor. Former chamber president Terry McShane had called him the day before and under the guise that there would be a group photo taken at the park of past chamber members.
“He’s an amazing human being,” chamber secretary Sandy Lazar said. “He’s dedicated his life to the town, so now it’s time to give back to him.”
The Southold-Mattituck-Greenport NJROTC Color Guard performed a flag ceremony, Timothy McGowan played the bagpipes and Mr. Nine’s grandchildren — Cassie Nine and Tom Sullivan, both 17, and Teagan Nine, 15 — unveiled the dedication plaque.
“I love you guys,” Mr. Nine told the crowd, which included members of the chamber, fire department, Southold Town Board and friends and family. “Thank you very much. I had no idea what was going on.”
Mr. Nine was also presented with proclamations from Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski.
“It is my honor to be part of a group that is honoring such a great man,” Mr. Russell said. “Ray, I can’t say enough about you. Your dedication to this community — as a fireman, as a businessman, as a family man and as a friend — the level of dedication is amazing.”
Mr. Nine was also named Mattituck Chamber’s Man of the Year in 2012. Mr. Nine had said it was with a great deal of regret that he resigned from the chamber in June 2012, the result of Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 2009.
On Monday, he said his love and appreciation of Mattituck remains strong.
“The people here are just wonderful people,” he said after the dedication with his wife, Dotty, by his side. “Always doing things for others and helping — it’s great. I can’t express how good I feel about it.”
Top photo: The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce dedicated the park in front of CVS to Ray Nine, front, on Monday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)