A boy scout who did good deeds
Village attorney Brian Egan has been tapped by the Trailblazer District of the Suffolk County Council Boy Scouts of America as the recipient of its Good Deed Award, to be presented on June 4 at The Mansion at West Sayville
By all accounts, the most nefarious activity Brian Egan was ever involved with was playfully throwing dirt bombs at friends when they gathered as young boys in Patchogue’s wooded lots.
While the dirt bombs were a pretty tame admission Egan gave of growing up locally, what came forth from others was the reason he’d been chosen for the upcoming Trailblazer District of the Suffolk County Council Boy Scouts of America’s Good Deed Award.
“He’s still a Boy Scout,” observed Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri of Egan, a partner in Egan & Golden Attorneys at Law LLP and Patchogue’s village attorney as well as Port Jefferson’s. “He takes care of the things he’s supposed to take care of.”
More of that later in the story.
Bellport mayor Ray Fell, who serves on the Trailblazers BSA Good Deed Committee, was a principal at South Ocean Middle School when Egan attended. He remembered a young man who was well liked by students and teachers. “He was a hard worker and involved with a lot of activities at school,” Fell recalled. “He was always a very polite boy and one who cared about the school.”
Friend Steve Uccellini added a bit more.
“The dirt bombs go back to his wit,” Uccellini said. “The thing about him is that he mixes wit, intelligence and warmth and what comes out of his mouth is hysterical. You know if you spend 15 minutes with Brian it’s going to be laughing and great fun. We’ve all had our good and bad days and Brian is no exception, but he doesn’t wear the bad ones on his sleeve.”
Ah, and there’s also a generosity of spirit in hospitality.
“You don’t need an invitation to go to the house at Davis Park,” Uccellini said of the Egans’ Fire Island getaway. “He’ll say, ‘come to the beach. Jennine and I and the house, we want people.’ That’s the thing about Brian. He’s so genuine. That big laugh everyone wants to be near and outgoing nature comes from his dad, Tom, and the love, warmth and sincerity comes from his mom, Jean.”
Pontieri spoke about Egan’s work ethic. “When I became mayor, we used Brian for the closing of a boarding house that had a lot of issues. His politics of being Republican (Pontieri is a Democrat) didn’t matter because we dealt with village issues that had to be cleaned up. We called him in as special counsel back then.”
Egan’s legal approach of handling overcrowded houses was one of the issues cited. “We gave the landlord notification to clear up the situation in 15 days and posted the notice in Spanish and English so people could plan,” Pontieri explained. Typically, he said, overcrowding was resolved in that 15-day time frame.
“There’s this tenacity of Brian’s. He has such a sense of what’s right and wrong and a love of the law that he doesn’t vary from. Whether it’s closing a house or giving a landlord violations, it has to stand up in court. When we got to the decision of changing attorneys, I liked his sense of community, that he was a Pat-Med graduate and there was a family connection [of over 100 years in Patchogue].”
Egan said his mother’s family had a scouting history that went back over 70 years and proceeded to hand over a 1948 Patchogue Advance article that included his grandfather Harold Gardner, who owned a shoe store in Patchogue Village, taking the reins as publicity chair for Troop 143. Gardner’s son Donald, Egan’s uncle, was mentioned as the winner among the Tenderfoot Scouts in a wood-chopping contest.
“My mother was my Cub Scout master, highly unusual for that time,” he said of his scouting era from elementary through high school.
“Some of my best memories included going to Camp Yawgoog, an 1,800-acre wilderness scout camp in Rockville, R.I. It’s on a beautiful, natural clear lake. There’s no light pollution and we would sit there and could identify hundreds of stars. I’d go with my parents — we’d take a ferry trip and slept in big military tents and were taught science skills.”
Egan’s push towards a law career began with his grandfather on the Egan side. “He was a typical Irish barrister from the Bronx with a booming voice,” he recalled. “My uncle, who worked for a local garage, backed up my grandfather’s car that was there for repairs, destroyed it and my grandfather complained to the garage owner. When [the garage owner] put the blame on my uncle, my grandfather pointed out that he was the employee who damaged it. He won the argument, the garage paid for the damages, and that was a real eye-opener for me regarding the law.”
Not surprisingly, Egan earned a Bachelor of Arts in history, and a minor in political science from Misericordia University; he attended St. John’s University School of Law, graduating with a juris doctor degree in 1999. During law school, he clerked for New York State Justice of the Supreme Court William L. Underwood, who Egan credits as a generous mentor. After a couple of law stints, including Pelletreau and Pelletreau LLP in Patchogue as its youngest partner, he established Egan & Golden LLP in 2006 with partner Karen Golden in Patchogue and East Hampton.
Egan has concentrated on commercial litigation, business law and municipal law and has been appointed by various justices of the New York State Supreme Court to serve as a referee and receiver in a variety of complex commercial and real estate matters.
Suffolk Boy Scouts Trailblazer District director Kim Taylor said when Egan, a Life Scout, was suggested for the award, “it was unanimous that he should be the recipient, hands down.”
“It was a surprise to me,” said Egan.
There are probably a thousand good deeds Egan has performed affecting people’s lives, but he shared a short list. He and his wife Jennine support the Long Island Bulldog Rescue Club (they have two, Mabel and Spencer); he performs pro bono work for animal rescue; teaches classes to other lawyers, and is active in supporting charities in Patchogue.
Success, he said, is never accomplished just by oneself.
“I credit my wife Jennine first, then my family, Karen [Golden] and the lawyers here, and my friends,” he said.
Oh, and his two bulldogs are in there, too.
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