Lakeland Renames Field for Late Detective and Community Leader

By Samuel Rowland
Lakeland Michael A. Houlahan Field
The Lakeland Central School District honored Detective Michael A. Houlahan by renaming the recreational fields after him. Houlahan last year after a long fight with a cancer believed to connected to inhaling toxins during his 400 hours of service at Ground Zero as an NYPD officer following 9/11.

The Lakeland School District renamed the baseball and softball fields behind the district’s administration building in Shrub Oak in honor of a former detective and beloved community leader in an emotional ceremony on June 19.

The facility is now called Detective Michael A. Houlahan Field. Houlahan, 59, died Mar. 25, 2020, after a long fight with a cancer believed to connected to inhaling toxins during his 400 hours of service at Ground Zero as an NYPD officer following 9/11.

He was later promoted to detective in the Bronx Warrants Division, before retiring in 2005. He then worked as a security aide at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

Houlahan was also director of the girls’ softball program with the Shrub Oak Athletic Club (SOAC).

“He was a pit bull,” Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble said, “but he was also like a golden retriever.”

Houlahan was lauded by those who know him best for his generosity and commitment.

“Whatever the boys had, he wanted the girls to have better,” said Steve Rosen, a friend and SOAC president.

Specific improvement projects for the district and SOAC were mentioned during the ceremony. Even while fighting cancer, Houlahan had championed, directed and sometimes even paid for projects out of his own pocket, such as the new basketball backboards he bought for the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School gym.

Family members in attendance were Michael Houlahan’s children, Jenna and Michael J. Houlahan; his brothers, Tom and Joe Houlahan; his mother, Frances Houlahan; and her husband, retired firefighter Tom Mituzas. Houlahan’s father, Jerry, predeceased him.

“He was my best friend,” Jenna Houlahan said, speaking emotionally about how they had bonded over softball until the end. “He was a very humble man. But once you put a bat in his hand, he was swinging for the fences.”

The new sign at the park was uncovered by his two children. They were accompanied by a quartet of bagpipes and drums played by the NYPD Emerald Society Pipe Band. The American, New York City and NYPD flags were raised by the city’s Ceremonial Unit.

After the ceremony, the nine- and 10-year-old Shrub Oak Storm boys’ team played the first game on the newly-named field. Pizza and sandwiches were provided by local restaurants for all in attendance.

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