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"Memorial Day: Remembering Those Who Gave All"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018



Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to the nation.  As we move into the Memorial Day Holiday, please consider taking a moment to think about those who have served the nation and, in the process, paid the ultimate sacrifice.


I personally would like to remember all of my friends who have sacrificed and those who have given their lives serving the nation who include Matt August, Josh Byers, Doug Dicenzo, Mark Paine, Eric Paliwoda, Michael MacKinnon, Tommy Schoales, Ian Weikel, and Phil Esposito who the Freedom’s Light Charity Program is dedicated to.


Additionally, I want to take a moment to remember my grandfather, Richard Francis Curran who passed away this year on March 17th. On January 25, 2003, he was honored into the North Rockland Sports Hall of Fame. The excerpt below is a short bio of his life. For me, his story serves to inspire and is an example to all of us for what it means to be part of the Greatest Generation.


God Bless,






Remembering Richard Francis Curran (1917 – 2012)


Richard Curran was Haverstraw High School’s first All-County quarterback. His 1934 team was the first Haverstraw High School football team to win Rockland County Public School Athletic League Championship. With a record of 6-0-1, the 1934 squad was also the first undefeated team in the history of Haverstraw High School.


His coach, Bill Reilly was committed to intensive physical conditioning and held a devotion to Notre Dame football. Reilly appreciated Curran’s toughness and named him starting quarterback to run the fabled Notre Dame box offense. In most formations, Curran’s responsibility was to be the lead blocker for the running backs. Richard willingly accepted his role as a blocking back and had the determination to excel at his position. The quintessential team player, he demonstrated proficient leadership qualities, motivating teammates by his words and his actions.


At the end of one of the most memorable seasons in Red Raider football history, Reilly paid Richard the ultimate compliment when he referred to Curran as the finest blocking back he had seen on the high school level.


Curran also played varsity basketball but was unable to return to school for his senior season. Due to the death of his father, he became the family wage earner, helping to support his mother and sister, Ann.


Richard served in Europe with the 36th Infantry Division during World War II. His unit engaged in combat for a total of 265 days. Curran fought in Italy, France, Germany, and Austria. He was wounded in action and awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the 36th Infantry Division Meritorious Unit Citation most notably for storming machine gun nest when several members of his unit were pinned down by fire.


After returning from the war, Richard became a pillar of strength for his community. For 37 years, he was a member of Carpenter’s Local Union 964, holding offices of President and Trustee. Additionally, Richard was a trustee in the West Haverstraw Elementary School prior to district centralization and served at the food pantry at St. Peters Church.


Curran epitomizes the true meaning of being a native of North Rockland. His father had worked in the Haverstraw brickyards starting at age 11. Richard was born in the only house he ever lived in, 48 Demarest Avenue in West Haverstraw and is a graduate of St. Peter’s Elementary School in Haverstraw. Richard married Mary McSharar 57 years ago. They are the parents of nine children, Richard, Kathleen, Joseph, Eileen, Damien, Matthew, Timothy, Margaret Alice, and James. Damien left this world at the age of 3.


The Curran’s are grandparents to 19 children and are great grandparents of two children. Richard’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, particularly ice fishing at the local lakes of the Palisades Interstate Parks System.


A person of courage, Richard Curran played the game with enthusiasm and passion. He is what the “Tradition of Excellence” is all about.


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