Members of the Islip Chamber of Commerce and elected leaders gathered in front of Tellers Chophouse on Tuesday to celebrate the $2,500 that was raised to keep the flags flying on Main Street.

“The Islip Chamber had lost their partnership with a group that had previously replaced and installed our flags,” said the chamber’s president Doris Kennedy.

The problem was addressed during a casual chamber meeting earlier this year, when chief operating officer John McMurray of Good Samaritan Hospital stepped up to the plate.

As a retired Colonel of the U.S. Military, McMurray knew the presence of the American flag was a central and part of any Main Street.

“It just so happened that I grew up in Islip. And when the chamber mentioned that they needed help, I thought it was a great opportunity to be able to support them,” said McMurray.

He offered to replace the old flags and have new ones installed. Good Samaritan Hospital has become the chamber’s new chief sponsor, investing $2,500.00 into the Islip hamlet.

Kennedy says they are extremely grateful.

“Forty flagpoles and hardware were purchased through Lennon Flags, a local flag company, and they were installed by Rainbow Party Rentals of Bay Shore in mid-May,” said Kennedy.

They now hang on several posts all throughout Islip’s Main Street.

“The flags are a good way to remind everyone of the soldiers — of our past, our present, and often our future — that serve the country in which we live,” McMurray said Tuesday in Islip. “Freedom is not free.”

Photo (L-R): Doris Kennedy, president of the Islip Chamber of Commerce and owner of Kennedy L.I. Realty Inc. in Bayshore; John McMurray of Good Samaritan Hospital; Anthony Mastrantonio, vice president of the Islip Chamber and owner of DANG BBQ in Islip; and county Legislator Tom Cilmi. (Credit: Richard Helm/Good Samaritan Hospital)