Just steps away from Nassau Community College, which houses a center for veterans affairs, stands an unlikely beacon of hope, community and gratitude for returning soldiers.
It’s the headquarters of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, a Garden City law firm built by World War II veterans. Since 2011, the firm has offered NCC scholarships to 38 veterans as they reintegrated into civilian life. The $500-$1,000 scholarships not only recognize local veterans as they continue their education. The program also provides support and a sense of community to the veterans returning from military service.
For these veterans, the program has been a godsend as they transition back to civilian life. Many served on frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan. They grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some saw soldiers killed or injured in the line of duty. Some survived suicide bombings. Some have lost friends to suicide. One is visually impaired. At least one earned a Purple Heart.
Recently, the veterans gathered at a luncheon reception at Meyer Suozzi headquarters honoring the scholarship recipients.
“This program means a lot – it’s something to strive for and keeps me academically motivated,” said Joseph Buan, an NCC honor student who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and Kuwait in 2003.
Meyer Suozzi is the only firm offering this kind of scholarship to veterans at NCC, said Dr. EvangelineManjares, dean of the college’s Center for Veterans Affairs. And while that might be a distinction for Meyer Suozzi, firm member A. Thomas Levin, who helped build the program, said he hoped other businesses would offer this kind of support.
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