FPM Graduate Receives Scholarship, Citation for Community Service
After the long, harsh winter the residents of Floral Park endured, the first day of summer is reason enough to celebrate, but the Board of Trustees gave two more reasons at its meeting on Tuesday, June 21. Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy swore in a new police officer, and Floral Park Memorial High School graduate Melanie Van Voorhees was presented with a $1,000 scholarship from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York as well as a citation from Mayor Tweedy.
“We have the pleasure this evening of swearing in our newest police officer,” Tweedy said. “The past six months, the [Floral Park Police Department] has been down a member and we have gone through a process of interviews.” Brian Keteltas rose to the top during the interview process. “We saw he was a dedicated and engaged man with an engaging personality as well as a hard worker,” Tweedy said.
Keteltas is a five-year veteran of the Old Brookville Police Department, which was reorganized in the spring to cover six instead of seven villages – a move that caused Keteltas and a couple of other officers in that department to lose their jobs. Muttontown, which was formerly part of the Old Brookville Police Department, formed its own police department and swore in its first officers earlier this month.
“Their loss was our gain,” Tweedy said, adding that for the past six months, the Floral Park Police Department has been short one officer.
While the FPPD works to serve the village, younger residents are also engaged in community service. Melanie Van Voorhees, a recent Floral Park Memorial High School graduate, was awarded with a $1,000 from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) at the meeting on June 21.
“We are actually thrilled to be here tonight in the company of Melanie, her parents, her neighbors, her community leaders to present a check for $1,000 as part of our scholarship program,” said Michael Reid, a representative for FASNY. “This is a really special award. We only hand out 10 of these awards across New York State and we were thrilled that two of these came to Nassau County this year, one here to Floral Park and one to your neighboring district in New Hyde Park,” he said.
Reid not only recognized Melanie for her vast community service but also credited her family for all of their time, dedication and commitment. “This is an award that is presented to a deserving family member of a firefighter … a student [who] has excelled academically as well as in community service,” he said. “Melanie has learned all about her education and her community service from her dad and from her family … Remember, your dad earned that check 5 and 10 cents a call [as he responded to] thousands and thousands of calls,” Reid quipped.
South Floral Park former fire department chief G. Michael Godfrey, who currently serves as the director of FASNY, presented Van Voorhees with the award.
Mayor Tweedy followed up with a citation. “Whereas Melanie’s dedication … has won her the respect of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, we will be presenting her with a [citation] based on her community service. Throughout her years at Floral Park Memorial High School, she has excelled in her studies, while participating in the Student Council [and] the dance team,” Tweedy heralded. Van Voorhees actively participates in Girl Scouts-driven community service initiatives, the March of Dimes, the Ronald McDonald House, AHRC and various youth activities, including the swim-a-thon at the Floral Park Pool.