Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘You get to make stuff from scratch.’


“I went into the Navy when I was 21 years old. My great-grandfather was in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. I joined in 2012, and I got out in 2016. I started school in 2018, and now I am a machinist businessman. I had always wanted to open my business because my dad had his own business.

“The Navy inspired me to become a machinist. The structure of joining the Navy helped my business, having a set schedule. When you are in charge of yourself, it is tough to stay on task. If you keep everything structured, it makes it a lot simpler to do.

“I loved working on the water. We went to all different places: Spain, Italy, Greece, Africa and Portugal. I started as an undesignated seaman. I did not have a job, so I was pretty good at the deck end. I was on lookout.

After I got out of the Navy, I always wanted to start my own business.

“While you’re on the ship, you get to know either position. I was able to work with the machinist. I didn’t even know what a machinist was. You get to make stuff from scratch. I fell in love with it. I kept doing it. I ended up getting a shore-duty job in the Navy, working on aircraft and helicopters, primarily working with the helicopters. I really learned a lot when I was there, machining whatever went broke, building whatever they needed. Keep everything flying.

“After I got out of the Navy, I always wanted to start my own business. I ended up taking a job where I got to learn. All the way, I ended up going to Suffolk [County Community College]. I had a shop out in Water Mill. I was working full time, going to school full time, and at night, I was running my shop. I was sleeping in my shop.

“I am a veteran machine shop owner [at Artisan Machining Inc.], and we make custom parts for various automotives. We work with customers and engineers to make parts for aerospace, parts on satellites, parts in the Navy.

“My dream is to start a mentorship or school for high school students so they could come to my workshop, and I can teach them. I want to bring more young people into manufacturing. I want to bring it to the schools. I want people to know more about 3D printing. It’s a great industry to be in. I don’t think enough people know about it.”

Interviewed by Christian Spencer

‘We are teaching people about the poverty that exists out in the Hamptons, and that is part of the battle.’

Water Mill

“I was born and raised in Sweden and had never seen poverty there. When I moved out here with my husband and two children from New York City in 2015. I thought the Hamptons was a place where everyone was doing well.

“I quickly learned there are children who have nothing to do all summer and don’t have enough food at home. They’d spend summer in the back of their parents’ car waiting for them to be done with work or in front of the TV all day by themselves. This inspired me to start Hamptons Art Camp, a free summer camp for underserved children.

“My goal was and still is to give them opportunities typically only afforded by privileged children. The first summer, we hosted 40 kids. Last summer we had over 140.

“When the pandemic hit, I reached out to the different communities in which I work as a social worker and asked how I could help. I visited migrant camps, people living in the woods, people sleeping behind churches and reached out to community leaders, and all of them said they needed food.

“In 2020, I fundraised $250,000 and about $70,000 in food donations. I identified struggling restaurants and used the fundraised dollars to buy meals from them. We delivered 6,500 cooked meals purchased from restaurants, 19,500 pounds of fresh produce and groceries bi-monthly to 250 families.

“At that time, we morphed into Hamptons Community Outreach. Through 2021, we kept fundraising and received donations through grants, family foundations, clubs and individuals which totaled $690,000. With that money, we added on programs to help with needs that we discovered while delivering the food.

“People would ask me to see how they lived. They were living with black toxic mold, no heat, collapsing ceilings, without proper flooring. I was just appalled and horrified, so we started a housing repair program. Also, parents would tell me their children were falling through the cracks at school, so we started a tutoring program.

“People also asked for medical help, which made us start a medical program which pays for surgeries and dental procedures. We also added a birthday club to help children celebrate their birthday.

“We have kept growing and now have four programs: a food program that feeds 400 people a week; a mental health program; a crisis program that includes home repair, medical services and restoring vital services such as electricity and phone service; and a child-centered outreach program that includes tutoring for 36 children weekly, a birthday club and the summer camp.

“It also includes winter coat, clothing and shoe distributions and more to children in need. Hamptons Community Outreach only has two full-time employees, but we have contractors and a large, amazing group of volunteers.

Interviewed by Liza Burby