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Posted on: April 28, 2021

A Home Run Honoring a Local Hero

Flynn Memorial Ballpark

Town of Smithtown Celebrates the Rededication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Ballpark

The Town of Smithtown kicked off the start of the opening season, with a grand slam re-opening and rededication ceremony of Flynn Memorial Ballpark. On Friday, April 23rd, 2021, Town of Smithtown leadership, local community & veterans organizations, and members of Daniel J. Flynn’s extended family marked the special day in town history at Flynn Memorial Ballpark, with the rededication and reopening ceremony of the newly renovated complex.

 

“I grew up with the Flynn family, we played together, we went to school together and then ultimately after school, I ended up going to Vietnam, shortly after Danny did. I got the bad news while I was over there. Twenty days in Country and he gave the ultimate sacrifice…  As most of you know, my previous career was in Parks, Buildings and Grounds and for quite a while, I watched this facility get older, and in more disrepair, it wasn't what it was when it was first built in 1979. Fast forward to present day, I went to the Town Board and told them we should do a complete renovation project on this park. The Town Board, and fellow elected officials agreed that it was time to rededicate this park for two reasons; for the children of this Kings Park community, and to honor Danny Flynn. And so it had to be top notch and that’s exactly what we did… I think Danny is up there looking down on us and I hope we’ve made him happy and proud.” - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim

 

Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, together with the Town Council, State & local elected officials, department management, Dennis, Gary, and John Flynn and their extended families, American Legion Post 944, Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, Kings Park Civic Association, Kings Park Youth, St Catherine of Siena Hospital, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and Katie’s of Smithtown were all in attendance to properly rededicate the newly renovated ballpark in honor of PFC. Daniel J. Flynn, who gave his life in service to the Nation during the Vietnam War. The total renovation of Flynn Memorial Ballpark began in late fall of 2019. The completion of the complex’s restoration marks the first upgrades ever made to the park since it’s dedication in 1979.

 

“First and foremost on behalf of the Kings Park Community and the Chamber, I want to thank the Town Board, because it’s you guys who make these things happen. It’s great to know that infrastructure investment in our communities that impact the lives of our families and our children are the priority. Projects like this one will bring residual income into our community and make our community thrive... Thank you for your foresight and commitment to the community.” - Tony Tanzi, Kings Park Chamber of Commerce

 

In addition to housing visiting leagues throughout the Northeast during weekend tournaments, Flynn Memorial Ballpark will host thousands of Smithtown Baseball and Softball players, in leagues young and old. The revenue this will generate for the town includes increased patronage to local shops in the downtown areas. 

 

The state-of-the-art complex is complete with four resurfaced synthetic turf fields with built-in drainage system underneath. The ball fields are equipped with warning tracks, pitchers’ warm-up mounds, and LED Energy efficient sports lighting. At the center, a two-story air-conditioned building houses a concession stand, pro shop, and handicapped accessible bathrooms on the first floor. A press box on the second floor features panoramic views for officials to accurately keep score. 

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank Supervisor Wehrheim, the Town Council, and the town leadership for providing this beautiful complex for the community. We had the opportunity on April 11th to host our 61st annual Spring baseball and softball opening day games and ceremony here at Flynn and the feedback we got was that it was the best in recent memory... On behalf of KPY and in particular the Kings Park Community, to have a complex like this to call home, especially in the name and honor of a hero; Daniel J Flynn, it means a lot to us. And I know it’s going to bring continued years of fun for the kids and success for the community.” - Keith Krayewski, President, Kings Park Youth

 

On March 6th, 1979 the park was first renamed in honor of Daniel J. Flynn, who gave his life only 20 days after his arrival in Vietnam. Prior to his enlistment in the US Army, Danny Flynn played semi-professional baseball on the grounds of Kings Park State Hospital and received tryout offers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Approximately 24 years ago, plans to excavate the park for sand mining and a waste transfer station were thwarted by community opposition and Vietnam Veterans of America’s Suffolk County Chapter President Richard Kitson. 

 

“A little more than 20 years ago, I made Dennis Flynn’s acquaintance because other people had different ideas about what should happen here and it wasn’t correct. Daniel gave up the big leagues to serve in Vietnam, like his father who had won the silver star in WWII… This is a fitting tribute to this brave hero who was a soldier in arms with me and all of my fellow Vietnam Veterans... This is a great day… nothing more meaningful is happening here on this island than what’s happening here today. And the reason it’s happening is because patriots like the people behind me never forgot. The only way to honor Daniel, is to never forget him.” - Richard Kitson, Vietnam Veterans of America

 

Pfc. Daniel J. Flynn, a member of the 725th Military Police Battalion, C Company, paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War, on May 25th, 1968 when he volunteered to take a friend's place on an escort assignment. He was killed in action, just 20 days after his arrival in Vietnam. Danny Flynn excelled as a student and athlete at Kings Park High School (Class of 1965) where he was an integral member of the school's varsity baseball team. Prior to enlistment, Flynn played semi-professional baseball on the grounds of Kings Park State Hospital and received tryout offers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Flynn chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, a (US Marines) Platoon Sergeant who earned a Purple Heart, Silver Star and a Presidential citation serving in WWII. Danny Flynn gave up a career playing pro-baseball to enlist in the United States Army to serve his country in Vietnam. He was killed in action at the age of 20 on May 25th, 1968.

 

“To my brother; Thank You. We miss you, we’re very proud of you and I think this monument, I hope serves to improve your memory. I want to thank a local guy, born and raised who knows what’s good for this town and does it… Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. Thanks to the Town Board for working very diligently to make this happen, particularly Tom Lohmann for your personal touch… Back in the day, I was under considerable pressure from the community to move this thing to a library or an armory that wasn’t even built at the time. But nobody was asking me what I wanted. I wanted Danny’s memory to be honored as a park.  This guy showed up and asked me what I wanted. He then proceeded to address a town council of a previous administration, and he was just elegant, extemporaneous and elegant. I believe he had much to do with the dedication of this park; Mr. Rich Kitson. Finally, thank you to all of you for being here today to honor my brother.” -  Dennis Flynn, Brother of Daniel J. Flynn

 

Flynn Memorial Ballpark is the largest park reconstruction project to be completed by the current administration. Over the last three years, the Town Board set out to make much needed improvements, repairs and renovations throughout the entire parks system. By the end of 2021, the Town of Smithtown will have completed the restoration process of over 75% of the town’s parks and beaches.

 

Flynn Memorial Park is located at: 29 Old Commack Rd., Kings Park, NY 11754

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