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FASNY honors Islander at awards ceremony

Tue, Aug 8th 2017 07:00 am
The Firemen's Association of the State of New York recently awarded the 2017 FASNY Gerard J. Buckenmeyer Volunteer Scholarship to MaryElisabeth Rustowicz of Grand Island. Rustowicz received a certificate and scholarship of $1,500 for her volunteer service in the community from FASNY representative Edward Tase at the Grand Island Fire Co. earlier this summer. Tase spoke about her at a meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education as well.
"I decided to become a cadet because I have always grown up around 'the hall.' It seemed like a great opportunity to learn about first aid and firefighting, while at the same time giving back to my community," commented Rustowicz, whose brother and sister also went through cadet training.
Rustowicz plans to attend Niagara University in the fall and major in childhood education and adolescent English. She is involved in other aspects of her community, including St. Stephen's Parish Players and the McCarthy School of Irish Dance, where she has been Irish dancing since the age of four. In school, she was president of the Class of 2017, Student Council vice president, and president of Students Against Destructive Decisions. She has also participated on the cross country, basketball and outdoor track and field teams.
Following in her father Kevin's footsteps, Rustowicz joined the GIFC and was also a member of U-Crest for five years prior to joining. She hopes to continue serving her community through the fire department and a will eventually pursue a masters of education and a career in teaching.
Rustowicz is one of 20 students chosen for this scholarship. She said, "This scholarship will be such a great help in my education. I am the fifth child in my family to attend college, so any financial support I receive is much appreciated. I am honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious scholarship from FASNY, a group of individuals who are so giving of their time to others."
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of an applicant's volunteer service to his or her community, such as serving with a local fire department, Scouting, church, school, work with senior citizens, fire prevention, and other projects. Additional criteria include consistent demonstration of good character and completion of a written essay.
The Gerard J. Buckenmeyer FASNY Volunteer Scholarship program is made possible each June through the donations of individuals, fire departments and auxiliaries. This year, Provident Agency Inc., the provider of the accidental death and dismemberment insurance for FASNY members, has again provided major underwriting support to help FASNY award scholarships to young volunteers. FASNY recognize the in-kind support donated by McNeil and Co., which provides more than 80 hours of administrative work needed to process the applications and awards.
Founded in 1872, FASNY represents the interests of the approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state.

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