Christmas dream


At the recent countywide recognition ceremony for outstanding firefighters held at the Bay Shore Fire Department, Southampton firefighters Dean McNamara, Jason Poremba and Ted Duffy were each bestowed with a medal of valor. The award is reserved for rescuers who put their lives on the line, “above and beyond” the call of duty.

The spirits of Lawrence Crippen, along with the Crippen clan, were there with the gallant warriors of Southampton Fire Department to give eternal thanks, for their honor and courage, to the Great Spirit.

Given permission from the heroic firefighters to add their voices, with the members of the Crippen clan, we all would like to help Florence Crippen move into her new home on the Shinnecock Reservation to complete a Christmas dream come true.

That night, January 25, 2007, when Lawrence Emmett Crippen died in the house fire on Hillcrest Avenue, Southampton, Florence T.W. Crippen, not only lost her beloved brother, but her dream died also. There was no insurance on the house, and she spent her entire savings on a new home on the reservation but can’t afford to finish it.

The modular home on a property on the tribal reservation had been put in dispute by the manufacturer, which left her home unfinished and uninhabitable, unless she came up with thousands of dollars more. The day the house came, it snowed. Her dream got farther away.

Ms. Crippen is the youngest daughter of Harvett Lee Crippen and Arthur Emmet Crippen. A member of the Shinnecock Tribe and a resident of Southampton Village, she grew up in the Hillcrest house her parents purchased in the 1930s.

Moving to New York City, Ms. Crippen retired from the National Council of Churches, where she worked more than 30 years. During this time Ms. Crippen dedicated her vacations and weekends to come home, where her parents and siblings live. Each year her dedication and fortitude became firmer. When her parents got sick and joined the Great Spirit, she saw to the burden of taking care of her brothers. Ms. Crippen became the unraveling anchor for her brothers, but it was taking a toll on her body.

Ms. Crippen reached deep down inside her spirit, knowing from her ancestors that her homeland, Shinnecock, was holy ground, sanctified for her, as the resting place of the bones of her ancestors. She needed to move to the Shinnecock Reservation; her dream was calling.

During this period, her body gave signs of needing repair; three days a week she went to Hampton Bays for dialysis. On one of her trips to Hampton Bays, her car was almost crushed; she survived but remained in the hospital for many, many moons.

After the fire donations to the Florence Crippen Fire Fund at the Chase Bank, she started to rebuild the house on Hillcrest, but her dream house lay dormant. Ms. Crippen, now in her 80s, has had a heart attack, and her leg is a prosthesis.

Please help us to realize Ms. Crippen’s dream—your prayers will help, and your financial support will help. Monetary donations may be made at Bank of America, Southampton, account name Phillip Brown, for the Florence Crippen Building Fund. Mail c/o Phillip Brown, Florence Crippen Building Fund, Box 97, Southampton, NY 11968.

For further information, please contact Dave Raynor at (516) 443-3477 or (631) 283-4685. Progress on the house can be seen on the web at

Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I’ll understand. With special thanks to every family for their help in this project. Have a healthy harmonious season.

PHILLIP BROWN IVShinnecock Reservation

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