It was an event filled evening at Peekskill High School last Friday when the school held an Alumni Night for all former basketball players and celebrated the dedication of an equipment closet in the name of the District’s former Equipment and Team Manager, Gary “Porky” Male, who passed away last summer.
The night’s events were presented by the Peekskill City School District’s Athletic Department and began with about 20 former basketball players gathering in the high school cafeteria to catch up with each other and reminisce about old times. Many enjoyed sandwiches and snacks while Peekskill’s Athletic Director and Boys Varsity Basketball Coach, Lou Panzanaro told stories that kept everyone laughing.
After the reunion the alumni players journeyed down the halls of the high school to the gym where the Boys Junior Varsity Basketball team was playing a game, which would be followed by a Varsity game later that evening.
In between games a dedication ceremony for an equipment closet within the gym took place in the name of the late, Gary Male, who was more affectionately known around Peekskill as “Porky.” The area, which has been named, “Porkey’s Pen,” is adorned with both a sign and photo plaque commemorating Male’s 25 years of dedicated service to Peekskill’s athletes and coaches.
Male, who was 70 at the time of his passing, began working for Peekskill Schools over two decades ago as a volunteer Team Manager under Coach Panzanaro. His role eventually expanded to helping other coaches as well. He worked mostly with the district’s basketball, football, and baseball teams, but made himself available to any coach that asked for his help.
“There was never a time when he was called that he did not immediately respond,” Panzanaro said. “We named the closet after him because his devotion to Peekskill warranted a prominent remembrance and he was probably most at home in the gym. The closet was one of his special places where he did much of his work.”
In addition to Porky's closet dedication, there will also be an empty seat in the gym with his jacket on it at all home games this year.
At the dedication Porky’s son, PJ Male, took a moment to thank the school for honoring his father in such an appropriate manner.
“This is a great thing you’ve done for my dad,” Male said.
Ray Glashoff, a Peekskill Recreation Department Supervisor who worked very closely with Porky in the City athletic programs, was also at the ceremony and spoke highly of Porky’s service throughout the years and noted a few of Porky’s accomplishments.
Besides his involvement with sports programs at the schools, Male was instrumental in getting the Press Box erected in Depew Park and also worked frequently with the City of Peekskill at Peekskill Stadium.
"Porky took great pride and joy in being part of the athletic community,” Panzanaro said. "He was there for everyone all the time. Porky was non-judgmental; he never had a negative word to say about anyone. He wanted only to see the Peekskill athletes and coaches do well."
“Porky will be missed,” Panzanaro added. “The time and energy he devoted to Peekskill athletics cannot be duplicated.”