My Grandpa Alan Rattiner Was the Man Back in the Day While Being a Montauk Firefighter

It has never really hit me until today, my grandfather Alan Rattiner was one very cool dude. He moved out to Montauk when Montauk was nothing, and opened White’s Pharmacy at the Plaza. He started a family, becoming one of the only Jewish families in the VERY Catholic Montauk.

He was a very tall guy, standing over six feet, and played the saxaphone. His pharmacy did well enough to keep everybody happy—my grandmother didn’t have to work (except at the pharmacy) and raised my dad and aunt in Montauk. The business was sold, but they kept the building, which my dad and aunt still own today.

I bring him up because today I got a wonderful text from Richard Lewin, one of our photographers here at Dan’s Papers, and he sent me the picture above. My grandfather‘s name stands on the wall at the Montauk Fire Department and will remain there forever. Back in the day, and I would argue even today, the Montauk Fire Department was one of the most exclusive groups of people in Montauk and my Grandfather was able to break the mold, being at that time the only Jew in the fire department.

The wall at the Montauk Fire Department is known as The Wall of Honor. Richard explained it to me over the telephone: “There is a wall of honor in the entry vestibule at the MFD, which honors members who have passed away. It has every historic Montauk family name, most of whom I have known in my 32 years living there. As Honorary Department Chief, I was especially touched to read the names.”

I never knew him. He had severe Parkinson’s late in life and I have no memory of him without it. But man do I wish that I did, because the more I learn about him, the more I want to be like him.

Pay attention to your roots, not only will it make you feel good, it will inspire you to do more.

Thank for this picture, Richard!

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