Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito joined International Food-Eating Champion Ed “Cookie Jarvis” and local Long Island fire department officials to announce the annual Long Island Clam Eating Contest that will take place this Sunday, July 16th at 1 p.m., at the world famous Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park. D’Esposito, a former Island Park Fire Department Fire Chief, and current Fire Chief James Miotto coordinated the clam eating challenge as a benefit to support the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior (NCFF-OWW). Joining Santino, Goosby and D’Esposito at the pre-event press conference were Butch Yamali, owner of Peter’s Clam Bar, Steve Grogan, Vice Chairman of the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior, and several clam eating contest participants from local fire departments.
Supervisor Santino, Councilwoman Goosby and Councilman D’Esposito witnessed Ed “Cookie” Jarvis providing expert instruction on competitive food eating to local firefighters who will be participating in Sunday’s contest. Jarvis, the world leader in competitive eating championships and a resident of Long Island, has entered eating contests ranging from chicken wings to French fries, to dumplings and even ice cream.
“The Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior routinely provides necessary supplies and offers assistance to wounded veterans throughout America’s largest township,” stated Supervisor Santino. “The Town of Hempstead is proud to assist the efforts of this dedicated organization with the help of International Food-Eating World Eating Champion Ed ‘Cookie’ Jarvis. And, what better place to have this contest than at Peter’s Clam Bar, where the world record for clam eating was set in 2010.”
“As a former chief of the Island Park Fire Department, I have seen firsthand the commitment and dedication our brave firefighters have for our local men and women in uniform,” added Councilman D’Esposito.
“I am confident that Sunday’s clam eating contest will be very successful and go a long way toward assisting our veterans,” said Senior Councilwoman Goosby.
The NCFF-OWW is a non-profit organization that provides supplies and gifts of appreciation – such as clothing, electronics and “Get Well” cards – to wounded veterans. The group is comprised of firefighters and EMS volunteers, who work together to raise funds throughout the year.
"On behalf of all the Nassau firefighters who work so hard for our wounded warriors, I wish to express the thanks of our organization to the Town of Hempstead and Peter's Clam Bar and Restaurant for their assistance and contributions so that we can continue to help these soldiers and Marines who have given so much. The little we all can do can never replace what they have done for us," said NCFF-OWW Chairman Joe O'Grady of the Floral Park Fire Department.
"We firefighters recognize and appreciate what our wounded warriors have sacrificed to keep all of us safe. And from meeting with these warriors at the hospitals they are shocked to learn that we, firefighters, would travel great distances just to visit with them and bring them presents. I know they truly appreciate our efforts and the contributions from so many other people who also care," said Steve Grogan, NCFF-OWW Vice-Chairman of the Lynbrook Fire Department and a Vietnam-era veteran.
Long Island's history, culture and traditions are closely linked to clams. The first coastal inhabitants of New York called Long Island the "Island of Shells" in recognition of the vast numbers of clam, oyster and other shells deposited on its shore. According to the New York Seafood Council, in the 1970s more than half of the clams eaten in the United States were from Long Island. At their peak population, clams filtered 40 percent of the water within the bay and contributed over $100 million to the local economy. Peter's Clam Bar has served the Long Island community for over 75 years.
The clam-eating contest, facilitated by Supervisor Santino and Councilman D’Esposito, comes just one week after the Town of Hempstead held its annual Salute to Veterans event at Town Park Point Lookout. Santino, Goosby and D’Esposito thanked local veterans for their service and presented the Veterans Service Award to volunteer-driven veterans that included two World War II soldiers.
“Veterans who have served their country and continue to serve in their community are a big part of why the Town of Hempstead is such a great place in which to live, work and raise a family,” concluded Santino. “We encourage all residents to come down to Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park on Sunday to support the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior, and do their part to give back to our patriotic men and women in uniform.”