Manhasset has a population of just over 8,000, but of those thousands, very few are as dedicated to the welfare of the community as Diane Harragan. The longtime resident has watched the community grow and evolve since she moved here with her husband in 1965, and still maintains a certain vision for its future.
Harragan currently works for Coach Realty, but it is not this job that defines her. She is best known for her activism within influential Manhasset organizations such as the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, the Manhasset/Port Washington Real Estate Board, the Manhasset School Community Association, the Congregational Church and the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset. The start of her community involvement can be traced back to when her children began attending school.
She is proud to have raised her two children through the Manhasset public school system, and taken on an active role in school affairs. Harragan is no stranger to the Manhasset School Community Association, on which she served as the president of middle school and then as the executive president. She now has four grandchildren who are excelling within the Manhasset School District as well.
“When my kids were in school I was always very involved,” said Harragan. “I feel that when you are personally involved, your children have a better chance of achievement and success.”
Harragan’s participation in community affairs does not end there. One of her most impressive achievements was being named as the first female president of the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset. To this day, she still works closely with the Kiwanis Club and the events they hold such as the recent Taste of the Town on Oct. 1 and the pancake breakfast that will be at Manhasset High School on Nov. 6.
In all of the years performing volunteer work for Manhasset, the common motivation behind all her actions has been the idea of beautifying the town and making it an aesthetically appealing place to live.
“I would love to see Plandome Road look beautiful,” said Harragan. “My dream is to see flowerpots everywhere so that when people come into Manhasset, they see it as an attractive neighborhood and a nice place to live.”
This desire has fueled the success of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce’s Adopt-A-Pole Program, an annual initiative that raises money and partners with local florists to disperse flowers and hanging plants around the town every spring. Under Harragan’s leadership as the chamber’s current secretary, the program has successfully completed 17 years, and is expected to continue on for years to come.
Though Harragan has been instrumental in maintaining Manhasset’s reputation as a quaint and pleasant place to live, she still has goals for further improvement.
“The biggest problem is that we’re not an incorporated village, just a part of the Town of North Hempstead,” said Harragan. “It’s always more difficult to get things done when you don’t have a small entity in charge.”
For years, Harragan pushed for the creation of a business improvement district in an effort to remedy that issue. Though this idea never came to fruition, she believes that progress is possible with greater community activism among residents.
“I would just would like to see more people become involved, whether it be in the Chamber of Commerce, or in the schools, or the Scouts or any community-held activities,” said Harragan.
It is clear that Harragan will not quit anytime soon when it comes to playing a role in the betterment of Manhasset. She continues to live happily in the town that she has called home for over 50 years.