American Legion Community Service Awards

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By James Brooks

Manhasset Post 304 of the American Legion held its annual Community Service Awards Ceremony on April 11 recognizing those individuals who have rendered commendable service to both the Manhasset Community and surrounding towns.

The evening’s program was honored with the presence of the Nassau County American Legion Past Commander Frank Colon and Law & Order Chairman Tom Basacchi.

Ten individuals were recognized for exemplary service to the community. They include two state troopers from the New York State Police; three police officers, a detective and a police medic from the Nassau County Police Department; a firefighter and emergency medical technician from the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department; and a firefighter from the Plandome Fire Department. Each was awarded a Certificate of Commendation.

The Trooper of the Year award was presented to Troopers Brian Cox and Jeffrey Sumcizk of the New York State Police whose performance resulted in 34 DWI arrests during the year. The details of one arrest involving marijuana, other drugs and an illegal loaded handgun was cited as the reason for this award. The citation was read by Sergeant Trenee Young.

Nassau County Police Officers Kevin Hauter, Charles Powell and Thomas Schultz of the Third Precinct each shared the Police Officer of the Year award for their efforts in pursuing and apprehending two subjects in a Flower Hill burglary. Deputy Inspector Gregory Abruzzo related the story to the audience of honorees, guests and legionnaires.

The Detective of the Year award was presented to Detective Thomas Roche of the Third Squad for the thorough research resulting in the apprehension and subsequent conviction of an individual responsible for the robbery of a Dollar Store in Hempstead with a handgun. The citation was delivered by Detective Lieutenant Thomas Murphy.

At this point during the ceremony, Unit Citations were presented to Deputy Inspector Abruzzo and Det. Lt. Murphy. These citations are wall plaques containing the engraved names of the honored police officers and detectives throughout the years.

The Police Medic of the Year award was earned by Police Medic Robert Siemann for his 30 years of outstanding service, which includes rescuing victims of the 1990 Avianca plane crash as well as delivering nearly 50 babies, including twins. Supervisor Jacque Ambadjes related his accomplishments.

The Firefighter of the Year award from Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department was earned by firefighter Charles Schuh for his 50 years of faithful service which includes serving as captain 1978-80 and saving the life of a man whom he rescued from an industrial sewer. Mitch Levine received the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) of the Year award for more than 25 years of dedicated service, for conducting EMT classes within the department and for responding to 205 calls last year. Chief Brian Stone spoke highly of both recipients.

The Firefighter of the Year for the Plandome Fire Department is Keith Conners who was honored for being a highly trained and experienced Class A Firefighter and a top responder to fire calls both during the day and at nighttime. The citation was delivered by Chief Paul Becker.

At the end of the program, Commander Peter Killian congratulated the honorees and thanked all of the friends and family who came to the ceremony which recognizes those who have contributed so much to the Manhasset community. The Community Service Awards ceremony was recorded by the Public Access Television Corporation and will be broadcast on PATV in May on Cablevision channel 20 and Verizon channel 37.

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