Great South Bay Power Squadrons

Junior Past Commanders Ceremonial Hats

Forward by P/R/C Angelo Giovaniello, SN-IN

“While I was working my way up the Great South Bay Power Squadron Bridge, I noticed that once you served your term as a Commander, and you stepped down, you were quickly forgotten. So when I was elected Commander in 1987, I created a hat for the out going Commander to wear at every meeting, so everyone in attendance would know who he was and his contributions to the squadron. However, to make him wear that hat and acknowledge him, there was one stipulation. He had to wear that hat to every meeting for the rest of the year, If he forgot to bring the hat and wear it at the meeting, or took it off without permission he would have to buy every Past Commander in the room a drink. Fortunately this tradition took hold and until this day we still present the out going Commander a hat.”

Some of the images below are of poor quality. These hats have been lost to time, and we found these images in our archives.

1987 – Angelo Giovaniello

In 1987 while Angelo was Commander, Anglelo along with  Bob Kirshbaum, P/C Irv Smyle and their wives took a vacation trip to France. Logically Irv presented Angelo with a french hat.

1988 – Irving Smyle

1990 – Barry Schwartz

1991 – Peter Richichi

For those that know Peter, he is a loud fellow with a booming voice despite his short stature. During his tenure Pete would often say ‘Because I am the Commander!’. Pete hat was made as a homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, a pirate of similar stature.

1992 – John Hudzik

1993 – Lawerence Postel

If there as a trophy of award out there, Larry wanted to win it. During Larrys tenure we brought the Rendezvous east trophy back to great south bay, as well as many educational awards including the coveted Prince Henry. Therefore Larry’s hat is covered in trophies.

1994 – Albert Hesketh

1995 – Anthony Zuaro

1996 – William ‘Bill’ Ford

Bill’s hat was made in the shape of a cigarette as he was a smoker. Bill was known to enjoy a beer or two and therefore beer cans were fixed to the hat. On the back of the hat is a wine bottle (not pictured) because Bill was the first commander to have wine at our picnics.

1997 – Michael Dowgiallo



1998 – Lawrence McCourt



1999 – Marie DeVito

Marie was our first female Commander which is represented by the diamond ring. She was always losing her glasses, so an extra set was attached to her hat. In 99′ Marie led a group of members that appeared on News 12 for a boating safety profile. Finally, Marie’s late husband Tony was injured at work losing the tips of two finders, as shown by the injured hand.


2000 – George Morrissey

During George’s tenure he was known to sing Shania Twain’s ‘Man I feel like a woman’ [we’re not really sure why] which is paid tribute to by the blonde wig attached to the hat. On the way to a squadron event George’s boat overheated because a hose collapsed. George used beer cans to add structure to the hose and forever is known for it!

2003 – Joseph Barrato

2004 – Thomas Piecora

2005 – Arthur Huebner

In 2005 there were 28 named storms. The most named storms since we started naming storms in 1851. Each storm is labeled on the hard hat and Hurricane king is written on the fan that is built into the hat.

2006 – Peter Cichanowicz


2007 – Joseph Milano

Joe had a fold able boat. A boat in a box of sorts. While assembling the boat one day, Joe fell in and the boat collapsed around him, hence the boat design of the hat. Joe’s catchphrase of ‘I Love you Guys’ is painted on one side of the boat. The other has NY2007, the year of his tenure.

2008 – Joseph Gagliano

2009 – Gary LaMarca

Gary’s hat is a tribute to his Spring and Fall Picnics. At the spring picnic the theme was ‘Country Western’. In the Fall, Gary’s theme was a Hawaiian Luau. Both events were big hits and favorites of the membership.

2010 – Luann Kazanecki

Luann’s hat is designed on the idea that she was one of John Sanfilippo’s D3 Penquins. At her spring picnic the Commanders liquor locker served specialty martini’s and held a Chinese auction. There was a poker run at a raft up, represented by the playing cards. She was the 69th Commander of GSB and the Fall Picnic was named Woodstock at Atlantique represented by the Peace Signs.

2011 – Rick Sinacore

Rick was known for doing things big!

For example ; 75 boat raft up,bands,square dancing and serving prime rib and soft serve ice cream on the beach.
He was the 70th Commander and part of Eric’s Eagles and for his Change Of Watch Dinner Dance he had limos and buses transport all attendees for a dinner cruise around Manhattan on the Atlantica !

2012 – Thomas Pilek

Tom’s hat is in the likeness of a ‘Red Solo Cup’ the hit song of 2012 by Country music artist Toby Keith. Solo cups are a staple of squadron picnics.

1976 – Edward ‘Eddie’ Wray

No, this one isn’t in the wrong place. Eddie was commander in 76′ before the hat tradition was started. Tom Pilek in 2012 made a hat for him so that he could participate in the annual ceremony of hats. 

2013 – Kevin Miller
Kevin Miller’s hat is Bavarian style, as colorful as the events he successfully organized.The mask & pin represent the Mardi Gras mask decorating activity at the spring picnic. The red, white and blue beads represent the theme for the fall picnic of an old fashioned all American picnic. As a Navy man, the “GO ARMY BEAT NAVY” pin & the gold pins represent the great trip we took to West Point in November. That same day, we enjoyed steins of beer, as we ended the day at the Oktoberfest at Bear Mt.

2014 – Alicia Pilek

Alicia’s year began with having Great South Bay participate in the non-profit organizations event sponsored by West Marine in West Islip. The event- “Cruising for a Cause” included food and drink, music and interaction with other area non-profits . Additionally, Alicia raised substantial monies for GSBPS at the event. Several events followed where her flavored “SVEDKA” vodkas were served including the Commander’s liquor locker at the spring picnic and at a Rendezvous East hospitality booth. The Commander’s Fall event was a “Speakeasy”, celebrating the Roaring 20’s as evidenced by the feathered masks, beaded necklaces, etc.


2015/2016 – Suzanne Rough-Mora

Suzanne is a big fan of champagne. She insisted at every squadron party we would have champagne to celebrate. During her 2nd term as commander she was forced to relocate to Chicago and logged many miles flying back and forth to NY.

2017 – Arthur Wallach

Art’s hat has a lego dinghy on the side representing the complex dinghy davit system Art built. At the Spring Conference Art’s theme was Cookies & Creme, represented by the cookies. Art revised his calendar 17 times and several copies are laminated. Art created the ‘on-water boat handling rodeo’ that used floats similar to the ones on the brim. There is a pin on the back that says ‘Got Alice’ for NSFW reasons.


2018 – John Pergola

Johns hat is built on a Sheriffs hat because he was stopped by the Sheriff on his way to and from Rendevous East. John had mechanical issues at our picnic and was towed home, represented by the TowBoat US boat. On the back of the boat Queen Elizabeth representing the biggest news story of 2018, the Royal wedding. On the back of the hat is the Chief Commanders flag as the C/C personally attended our Spring Conference. Finally the monocular is for the theme of the Spring Conference Pirates. On the front brim is the D3 Defenders decal, of which John was a Defender Commander. 

2019 – James M Milton

James has been accused of having a hard head sometimes, so a hard hat for a hard head seemed appropriate. During his tenure as Commander, James went to Walt Disney World for a week on vacation, represented by the Mickey Mouse on the front and side. Anyone who knows James knows he loves to ride his motorcycle, and frequently came to meetings on it. The bobbers and plug are to represent his love of fishing as he is an avid fisherman. Finally the pacifiers; James would frequently remind us that he was the youngest commander in USPS History. 


2020 – Kathy Matheson

The beach chairs and palm trees represent Kathy purchasing a house and spending most of her COVID-19 quarantine in sunny Florida with her husband, Kevin. The Adirondack chair on top of the hat with the laptop, telephone and a cold drink is where I pictured Kathy starting her squadron zoom meetings, also represented by all the zoom logos. As far as the decals go, I think they speak for themselves by representing toilet paper shortages, wearing masks, taking temperatures, washing hands…to name a few. The larger pink and orange COVID germs represent how big the virus was and the smaller clusters of COVID germs represent how quickly the germ spread.