Town of Smithtown Hosts Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremony in Memory of Bay Constable Thomas C. Akerberg, Jr., FDNY EMS BOT
Town of Smithtown elected leaders joined the Department of Environment and Waterways, the Department of Public Safety and the Akerberg family to celebrate Arbor Day with a tree planting ceremony in memory of Smithtown Bay Constable Thomas C. Akerberg, Jr. Each year, the Department of Environment and Waterways hosts a ceremonial tree planting to mark the annual Arbor Day holiday. The memorial tree, a Magnolia Galaxy, was planted at the entrance of the Smithtown Department of Public Safety, where it will grow upwards of 30-40 feet high, and its magenta blooms will bud with the start of each Spring.
“Tommy had the gift of healing, which he passed on to anyone who crossed his path. On a hard day, he knew just how to make me laugh, until it hurt. He was a great friend, a proud father, a teacher, and a hero to the Smithtown and FDNY family. I can’t think of a better way to remember such a bright light in our community than this tree, which will grow, blossom and thrive for generations to come.” - Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo
A Proclamation to the Akerberg family, in recognition of “Tommy” C. Akerberg, Jr’s. 20+ years of service to the community was presented by Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo and Councilman Tom Lohmann. Additionally, David Barnes, Director of Environment and Waterways, presented an Arbor Day Proclamation to the family, formally dedicating the Magnolia Galaxy tree in loving memory to Bay Constable Akerberg. Public Safety Director Tom Lohmann presented the family with a plaque which will rest on a pearl-like memorial stone. The engraved memorial plaque was funded through a private collection, courtesy of Tommy’s co-workers at the Department of Public Safety.
“Tommy was a huge part of this department, and his passing left a tremendous hole in the Public Safety Family. We were extremely honored that David Barnes and the Department of Environment and Waterways chose our office as the location to plant this year’s tree and dedicated it in Tommy’s memory.” - Tom Lohmann, Director, Smithtown Department of Public Safety
Smithtown native Tommy Akerberg was an 18 year veteran of the FDNY and served the people of Smithtown as a Bay Constable. For over two decades, Akerberg served the Department of Public Safety and the community, beginning his career as a Park Attendant II. Akerberg worked his way up to Dispatcher, ultimately attending the Basic Course for Peace Officers at the Suffolk County Sheriffs' Academy, and was later assigned to the Waterways and Navigation Division as a Bay Constable. He was known as an extremely capable boat handler with a tremendous knowledge of the Smithtown waterways. Bay Constable Akerberg, a teacher by nature, always shared his expertise with newer Bay Constables. Fondly remembered as a gentle giant, Bay Constable Akerberg cared deeply for his family, community, and his two young daughters. Thomas C. Akerberg, Jr. FDNY EMS BOT, Smithtown Department of Public Safety Bay Constable, died on February 2, 2021.
In 2020, the Town of Smithtown planted a tree in loving memory of Urban Forrester James Cordray. This marks the second year in recent history that the town has dedicated the Arbor Day tree planting in memory of a town employee, who was taken from the world too soon.
Arbor Day is often celebrated as a day to promote education and awareness on the importance of trees in the community. The Town of Smithtown has maintained its reputation as Tree City, USA for over 34 years, in addition to recent efforts to begin a street tree census, and to identify invasive species.
The Smithtown Department of Public Safety Headquarters is located at 65 Maple Avenue, in Smithtown, NY.