Honoree Marty Lyons brought many of the nearly 1,000 attendees at the IGHL Gala to tears during his acceptance speech. (Photo: Douglas Harrington)
Up-island from the Hamptons, the Independent Group Home Living (IGHL
) annual gala honored former New York Jets
, entrepreneur and humanitarian Marty Lyons
IGHL is the standard
by which all service providers to people with developmental disabilities are measured. Founded shortly after the 1972 Geraldo Rivera exposé that revealed the horrific conditions and mistreatment of developmentally disabled children at the Willowbrook State School, IGHL was founded by a group of concerned Long Islanders with Walter Stockton
as its Executive Director and Conrad Kuhn as its Chairman of the Board.
The role that IGHL plays in the lives of developmentally disabled people and their families on Long Island is profound to say the least, as Stockton explained, "This year we have another facility that is going to open just a driveway from here actually, another Angela's House for medically frail children. We just acquired a house from the State of New York, so that is two new homes. At this point we are servicing about five thousand people. We have 53 group homes and 23 day programs, a nursing home, a school."
A passionate supporter of IGHL, once again this year WFAN
, WPBB and Hamptons.com sports commentator Ann Liguori
served as the evening's Mistress of Ceremonies. After Liguori introduced her long time friend, Lyons took the stage and delivered an acceptance speech that literally brought tears to many of the nearly 1,000 supporters in attendance.
Marty Lyons with IGHL client Gregory Davenport at the 33rd Annual IGHL Gala held at Flowerfield in St. James. (Photo: Douglas Harrington)
By way his own foundation, Lyons has devoted his post-football career to fulfilling the special wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening and terminal illnesses. As the very humble Lyons told Hamptons.com, "I accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers and people that work on behalf of those that are less fortunate. The work that IGHL does is absolutely tremendous. Tonight I am very humbled and honored to accept this award, but even though it has my name on it after 30 years of working with the foundation there has been a lot of volunteers, there has been a lot of kids. They taught me a lot, so this is their award, not just mine."
The IGHL 33rd Annual Gala was once again held at the beautiful catering facility Flowerfield in Saint James and the staff and management did a superb job with outstanding service and fabulous food in an ambience that is simply spectacular. The evening's entertainment was provided by celebrated singer/songwriter Dillon Dixon.
In a time of deep government cutbacks and increased need, IGHL is the safety net for many families and individuals that might otherwise have nowhere else to turn. IGHL is devoted to the mission of defending those who cannot defend themselves!
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Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com