Heartfelt tribute for a man who had a ‘zest for life’


Known for his humor, passion, and willingness to help anyone in need, Shaun Brala exemplified the values of Sea Cliff, and his home village Glen Head. Although he died in 2012 at the age of 21, his endearing spirit still flows throughout both communities. Members of the Sea Cliff-Glen Head Lions Club along with Brala’s family and friends paid tribute to him with a plaque unveiling at Rum Point Park on June 24.

Brala mentored children as a camp counselor for several years. His parents John and Lisa said that he loved working with children and explained that his devotion is something that they will never forget. “We carry these treasured memories wherever we go and often sit on these benches remembering Shaun with a smile under the warm embrace of a sunset,” Lisa said.

Brala was severely injured in a car accident on the Roslyn Viaduct in 2010. He died a few years later after a drug overdose. His father — who worked across the street from Rum Point Park at the Sea Cliff Water Company Inc. for 25 years — thought the park would be a great place to honor him. “This park invites every family that lost somebody to come down and to have hope,” John said.

John got the idea when he met a contractor who was doing construction work in Old Brookville. There were large rocks lying on the road from the construction and he got permission to use one of them for the park. With help from the Lions Club, North Shore Monuments, and other local supporters, John had the rock placed at the park’s entrance.

“It’s just wonderful to be able to give back to someone in time of need and to be able to help him navigate through this process,” said Marc Neal, president of the SCGH Lions Club. “As Lions, we’re proud and we’re so happy to be there for him. That’s what we do.”

Mayor Ed Lieberman, who is also a member of the Lions Club, shared the significance of Rum Point Park and how people like Shaun should always be remembered. “We hope that this message of warmth, calmness, and love transcends throughout time with this plaque and with our dedication of this rock to Shaun,” he said.

Shaun played golf, lacrosse, football, and many water sports as well. His ties with North Shore High School as a student-athlete led to his parents creating the Shaun Ryan Brala Memorial Scholarship fund. The scholarship is awarded to any graduating senior who is accepted to a college or university and has played a team sport for four years in high school.

“He had an incredible zest for life,” John said. “He was a total outdoors person and he lived life to the fullest.”