Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., has awarded scholarships to four veterans who are now enrolled at Nassau Community College.
“As our troops return home it is incumbent upon the Long Island business community to assist these heroic men and women with transitioning into civilian life,” said Managing Attorney, Lois Schlissel. “It is essential that we create jobs for those who served and help fund their education so that they can compete for jobs in this very difficult economic climate.”
The Meyer Suozzi scholarship committee was chaired by Past President of the NY State Bar Association, A. Thomas Levin, chair of the firm’s Municipal Law, Land Use and Environmental Compliance practice and the Professional Responsibility practice.
The Scholarship recipients are: Andrew Kaelin of Oceanside, Dana Mahan of Amityville, Michael Stapleton of Lynbrook and Ryan McCrory of Wantagh. Twenty-four year old Andrew Kaelin is a 2005 graduate of Oceanside High School. An Army Sargent in the 82nd Airborne, he was deployed to Afghanistan twice and received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered on January 28, 2008.
Kaelin says the 82nd had been in Afghanistan for six months by the time he joined them after completing a training program at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. His unit had not seen any frontline action at all during this time. However within days of his arrival they moved to the frontlines, and in his very first mission, his unit was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade. A few days later he was injured when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb. His unit was also involved in a major firefight with enemy units.
Upon his discharge from the Army, Kaelin reenrolled in Nassau Community College. He says it has been a far more successful experience than his first effort in 2005, when he received one “C” grade and either failed or withdrew from the rest of his classes, He currently has a 3.7 grade average and has scored straight “A” grades the last two semesters.
Kaelin is now applying to Columbia University and hopes to one day attend law school. He says he will use the scholarship money to defray the cost of his application to the Ivy League school.
Amityville resident Dana Mahan grew up just down the street from Andrew Kaelin in Oceanside. Mahan enlisted in the Navy in 2006. The 26 year old, graduated from Oceanside High School in 2003.
He says before his time in the Navy he was immature and not concerned with his long term future or his education. He says his first stay at NCC was far from successful, but he says his priorities are now in order and he is proud of the 3.2 grade point average he has achieved. After he completes his studies at Nassau Community College, Mahan is hoping to attend the Maritime College in the Bronx, and may pursue a career as a firefighter. He will utilize the scholarship to pay for the high cost of books.
Michael Stapleton of Lynbrook is 31, was deployed to Iraq. He and his wife Mairin have a nine month old son, Michael Jr. Stapleton, a Marine Corporal spent six years in the military.
He did not enlist until he was 23, and says he joined because he knew he needed to do something special with his life. He says he is getting mostly “A” and “B” grades and plans on pursuing a career as Radiological Technician. Stapleton says the scholarship will help him pay for the very expensive books he needs for school.
29 year old Ryan McCrory grew up in Wantagh. He spent six years in the Army serving as a Sargent in Aviation mechanics and Special Operations. He was stationed in Iraq from July of 2006, until October of 2007 and served three tours in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010
Before enlisting, McCrory attended college in Colorado and he says he was not ready for the rigors of college study. Since enrolling at Nassau Community College he has been on Dean’s list with a grade point average of 3.78. and hopes to someday attend medical school and become an oncologist.