Saturday, June 14, 2008

First Meeting Uncle Billy
First meeting "Uncle" Billy Delong at the Rotary Club of New York in 2003, I admired how this lovable and friendly senior citizen in his eighties, could spend weeks and even months in some of the most impoverished, war-torn and dangerous areas of world, ...and loving every minute of it. So I created this Blog to present the adventures of my friend to provide a resource and model for others to also benefit from the joy and satisfaction Uncle Billy has found. He first started his escapades the day of the vicious attack of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Tom and James McConnon

Transcript form a local newpaper

Bill gives all his tips from working as the oldest union waiter in the United States to support volunteer programs at home and around the world. On September 11, 2002 the first anniversity of 9/11, Bill attented a memorial breakfast at the Regent Wall Street, then proceeded to Ground Zero where he laid a bouquet of Roses at the site in memory of all wait staff, espically those he personaly knew. He mourned the loss of not only their lives, but the lives of almost 3,000 people.He recalled what it was like to have worked in the building himself and thought as did everyone in the city of New York how lucky they were to have kept their lives and escaped this, the greatest calamity to have occurred on US soil since Pearl Harbor.Bill still remembers all the companies he worked for when he freelanced part time as the a temp in the towers. He stands and wonders how many people did he brush by, meet in the elevator , have cup of coffee or a brief chat with, that are now gone and says a silent prayer sending his love towards Heaven, helped of course, by the countless religious leaders at Ground Zero and around the world who prayed for World Peace.In fact, in the that shopping plaza one man will never be forgotten. He took the stock of sneakers from his store and tossed them into the public area instructing women with heels to dawn them so they can run swiftly to safety.

We may never know all the acts of heroism that happened that day, were the union waiters giving out water to the rescue workers ? Did they help someone else live and they died? We may never know. But, this we do know, we miss them all and we will never forget them! Nor will we ever forget Harold Bill De Long’s Heroism heading to Ground Zero an octogenarian at the time, whe he could have been sitting home watching everything happen on TV. Instead, he was making his way full steam ahead to do what he could. Being put to work in the Salvation Army Tent, he made beds, cleaned, gave out exercise programs , but most of all he brought cheer by taking a rubber latex glove, blowing it up into a balloon and waving it as welcoming hand from NY. He gave his love.In 2002, Bill’s heroism was honored when the New York Post presented him with the “Ambassador's’s Medal” which was well deserved. He was also given a Senate Seat in the World Nations Congress where leaders from all over the world met to dicuss important issues. Bill’s forum is “Seniors in the workforce”. He strives to keep seniors active and as vibrant as he is.For his lifelong achievements, the ABI, American Biographical Institue has welcomed him into their Hall of Fame as the First Waiter in America.

The entire Nation and the World welcomes and will always remember the good he shows everywhere espescialy during 911. We will never forget him and he will never be forgotten.

"Uncle Billy's" letter from Vietnam.... January and February 2009
NY Rotary Member Bill DeLong sends greetings from Vietnam. Hello to all. The weather is hot and now I am a Millionaire. 17 thousand and 400 hundred Dong equals one US Dollar. Gas is 2 dollars a liter and every one has a motor bike. We only see buses and taxis - almost no automobiles.I am working with the DUC DUC Street Children Project. It was founded in 1997 to care for over 150 Self earning children in Ho Chi Min City. It is an organization that strives to protect children from abuse, reducing illiteracy by promoting schooling and vocational training, providing health care education for children ages 5 to 17 or there-abouts, and keeping relationship with their families.It is a very active organization and it seems to work. So far I have been with the children at the sewing school center to prepare young students to work in clothing factories. I also spent a day with one of the world's largest cement factories that bags it for cargo ships for world wide contractors. The library where they are being taught computer skills is a big project. Little boys and girls are learning English to use the computers. The children are looking for attention and affection as many do not live with their families - were abandoned as babies and live at various homes and shelters.I have been giving some dancing lessons as another form of relaxation. Christoph the Munich Rotarian is here and has been a wonderful advisor and has helped to see that I am placed in various projects. I am living in a Guest House which includes Bed and Breakfast and there are many Australians and New Zealand Backpackers here as well.On my time off I called on the new 2004 SHERATON HOTEL Manager, was received with a great big hello and welcome . enjoyed fresh fruit and tid-bits and met the staff. Next week I will call on the American Consulate as the US Embassy is in Hanoi and meet the staff and get the lowdown on what is going on in Israel/Palestine. Now I hear Lebanon is getting involved. how things have changed since my working in the American Embassy back in 1948 when Palestine became Israel,and many years later. Having been a Volunteer in both countries I am hoping the people I know and worked with are still alive. I enjoyed life in both Syria and Jordan before all this confusion, war, and terrorist attacks.Today is Sunday and a day to myself. Doing some sightseeing with Australian backpackers. There are no US Tourists presently - at least I have not met any so far. The country has a poverty level but not like I found out when working in India in February/March with the Red Cross in 2008. My friend Andrei, a Banker gave me a bag of candy so yesterday we all had a candy party I will visit the Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. I saw it years ago and I hear the new show is terrific. Will buy a DVD if possible so one and all in USA can enjoy this new kind of entertainment.My personal and warm regards to all for year 2009, especially my friend Andreas. See you all some time in ever,Uncle Billy, the Rotary Vagabond.PS I am known here as Billy DeDragon as Long is the name for Dragon in their language and guess what? When I worked in China and stayed at the Backpackers Hostel, a photo was taken of me and placed on the bulletin board as the visit from an American Dragon. Yesterday an incoming backpacker recognized me as he saw my photo on the bulletin board in the Beijing Hostel. So what else is new crazy world we live in. Photo: Uncle Billy helping with a Special education School at the Siason Zoo

AAPR Bulletin - Reprint November 1, 2008

Sometimes, even Harold “Billy” DeLong has to yield to Russian tanks. America’s oldest working union waiter had planned to travel to the Republic of Georgia in August to serve at an education camp for diabetic children, which the 87-year-old Queens, N.Y., resident had done the previous three years. But the camp closed in the shadow of the Russian military’s invasion of Georgia.
So instead, DeLong—known to those he serves as “Uncle Billy”—will travel to Vietnam in December to help feed street kids.
“My motto is, ‘Service above self,’ ” says DeLong. He waits tables at some of New York’s luxury hotels as a member of Local 6 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, after “retiring” in 2002 from a career that included military intelligence work behind the iron curtain.
DeLong uses money he makes from working 50 to 75 banquets a year to pay for his humanitarian trips to places such as India and Africa. He’s also tended to Hurricane Katrina victims. Because of his volunteer work, the New York City Rotary Club appointed him traveling ambassador.
“No matter how old you are, you can get out and help others,” he says.

A letter From Uncle Billy in May 2008 about State Senator Robert Wonderling new book "Talking PA (Pennsylvania) where he wrote a chapter about Uncle Billy's Humanitarian Travels.

Hello to all Rotarians,

I left the Sheraton Hotel where Reading, Pa Rotarians along with surrounding Rotary Clubs in the area to attend a wonderful and well organized Breakfast. along with our Pennsylvania Senator Rob Wonderling and his secretary Liz Ferry and my old friend retired Reading Eagle Manager, our leading Local newspaper, Chuck Gallager and my personal guardian Keith Hill who looks after my affairs in Reading, I met Rotarians from all over this area, who came to see the great honor I received from the Senator who presented me with his new Book entitled TALKING PA With 21 conversations for the 21st Century, Leaders who have a passion for the citizens of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania along with their blend of commonsense and insight to help others. after the Senator made the presentation along with remarks about my Humanitarian and Volunteer work both at home and around the world I received the book and my personal comments between guests taking notes and flash photos I gave them all a chance to step into the background of America's Oldest working Union Waiter and Traveling Ambassador for the New York City Rotary Club. At the close of the breakfast both the Senator and I, were off to the WEEU Radio Station to appear on the talk show, where the latter half of the show there were call in from those who wanted to compliment or ask questions, I was carried away by many of the people who knew me through other Projects I was involved in my Home town. a very rewarding surprise. In view of the fact that all my family has passed away, My reply was you are may family now. I left the Radio station and back to my home for rest and relaxation as it was one of the most rewarding days of my career, with the exception of the day I received the Liberty Ambassador medal from Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki at the Gracie Mansion Sept 26, 2002. my interview with the will follow after the event 27 May 2008 Reading Cable Service interview. By By By for now, The Rotary Vagabond.