When you can’t find Doug Wood sitting on his porch overlooking what he has dubbed the “Wood Estate,” East Meadow residents may see him providing the homeless with a meal or teaching youngsters the art of baseball.
That’s all in a day’s work for a man -- one with deep local roots -- who has dedicated himself to helping people in the community and beyond for many years. An East Meadow resident for all of his 64 years, Wood has lived in the same house, which he bought from his parents.
“My family originated from this area,” he said. “We have maps back to the 1800s and the Wood family was actually on Hempstead Turnpike when it was a dirt road.”
His desire to help others started decades ago. When Wood was serving his country in Vietnam, he took in a local family. He said he “helped them with their home and helped [to] feed them and clothe them.”
“I also did things for the street kids,” he said about his time in Vietnam. “I tried to adopt one boy, but it wasn't successful. The fire department and my church helped by sending food and clothes.”
A member of the for 46 years, he is an ex-captain and the current chaplain. He is also a member of the , representing the fire department and his church.
Now retired, Wood worked for the county as a supervisor in firefighter communications for 34 years. Continuing to share his knowledge, skills, and love for the fire department, Wood now works part-time at the Nassau County Fire Academy doing public fire education at the Nassau County Firefighters' Museum.
“Getting things is not the most enjoyable thing in life,” he said. “It is giving to other people. It is the best if you can help someone who is less fortunate or help a friend in need.”
Additionally, Wood has coached little league baseball for approximately 23 years, where, as he said, the kids fondly refer to him as “Coach Woody.”
“Anything that has to do with helping the kids out, I usually try to get involved with as far as I am concerned,” he said.
At the , where Wood is a member, he is a lay leader, heads the youth group, works as a maintenance man, and has served as a trustee, as well as assists with food and coat drives. Wood even dresses up as Santa Claus for the children at , which is located at the church.
He said that his family “was some of the church founders” over 150 years ago. Some of his family members are buried in the church’s very old cemetery, located behind the ’s former home, which is now the on East Meadow Avenue -- he said.
Wood also works with the homeless in the area, including those living in the woods off of the Meadowbrook Parkway and those who “hang out in .”
“I have worked with a program with my friends who own 7-Eleven,” he added. “We get extra food that they have and distribute it to the homeless people.”
Besides being a grandfather to four children and one step-grandchild, Wood has mentored two children from a family originally from Ecuador. He said that he is “kind of like a grandfather to them” and he “helps them out.”
“I keep myself busy. We do whatever we can. I don’t look for any accolades, I just kind of go about my business,” Wood said in regards to his willingness to help others.