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Seaford’s Patriot Award is Pride for Five

Five Seaford High School graduates were recognized for their service, commitment and character with the Patriot Award, presented by the Seaford 9/11 Memorial Committee. Erica Albert, Matt Karounos, Jessica Kofod, Logan Masters and Chris Surace were recognized during the Aug. 6 graduation ceremonies on the school’s front lawn.

The Patriot Award is given in honor of the five Seaford High School graduates who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – Thomas Haskell (Class of 1982), Timothy Haskell (1985), John Perry (1982), Robert Sliwak (1977) and Michael Wittenstein (1985). The five recipients are chosen from dozens of applicants for best embodying the traits of those five men.

Erica, Matt, Jessica, Logan and Chris each received a monetary scholarship. In the 19 years that the award has been presented, the 9/11 Memorial Committee has given out more than $200,000 to almost 100 Seaford graduates.

Tom Condon, the district’s retired athletic director and a founder of the committee, noted the similarities between the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2002, which contained the first group of Patriot Award recipients. That class graduated in the aftermath of 9/11 venturing into an unknown world, much like the current graduates who are experiencing life in a pandemic.

“You are well prepared to meet all the challenges ahead of you,” he told the graduates, “because you are Seaford pride.”

Ken Haskell, president of the 9/11 Memorial Committee, joined Mr. Condon for the awards presentations. His brothers, Tommy and Timmy, were both New York City firefighters who responded to the towers on 9/11. In his remarks to a class that had its senior year interrupted, Mr. Haskell explained that a defining characteristic for a person is how well he or she can respond to adversity. The Patriot Award celebrates students who have demonstrated exceptional character, a desire to serve their community and a commitment to helping others.