By Carla Peoples, August 28th, 2020.
As written in the Galveston Daily News
Dickens on The Strand is one of the island’s most popular events. Every year, thousands of people of all ages gather in early December to celebrate — in and with Victorian style — with parades, live entertainment, events for children, strolling characters and vendors and, of course, food and drink.
Tentatively scheduled for Dec. 4-6 this year, no one is sure yet whether it will actually take place and, if so, what that will look like. That decision will come sometime in September. In making that decision, we trust that Hal Rochkind, president of the Galveston Historical Foundation, which hosts the annual pre-Christmas fete, will do the right thing.
Rochkind, a fourth-generation Galvestonian, has a history of doing just that. When family patriarch Barry Rochkind suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009, Hal came home to Galveston at the request of his mother, Franie.
Doing the right thing runs deep in Rochkind’s family tree. His great-grandfather, Lt. Col. Max Clark, was one of the first Marines in World War II to be awarded the Navy Cross (posthumously). He served in three wars and survived the Bataan Death March but was killed while a prisoner on a Japanese hell ship, so named because such vessels transported Allied prisoners of war. He is known as the founder of the junior ROTC program at Ball High School.
Hal’s father, Barry Rochkind, was a batboy for the Houston Astros, as well as a sports reporter on KGBC 1540 AM. In 1987, he started Rochkind Insurance. Hal’s fondest memories of growing up in Galveston include riding his bike with friends on the seawall and family picnics with the Gaido, Druss and Masel families.
Hal enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and sons Wilder and Hayes. He also plays second base with the Gulf Coast Sugar baseball team and serves or has served on the boards of many organizations focused on helping the Galveston community, including Galveston Island Meals on Wheels, Galveston ISD Educational Foundation, Galveston Historical Foundation, Rotary Club of Galveston Island, United Way of Galveston, The Knights of Momus and the Child Advocacy Center of Galveston County.
We soon hope to know what he decides about Dickens on The Strand.