Christie Welsh, MHS ’99:For extraordinary achievement as a Professional and Amateur Soccer Player. Christie excelled in Women’s Soccer at The Pennsylvania State University, earning many national honors including being named All American for four consecutive years and National Player of the Year in 2001. While playing for the US National Team from 2000-2008, she recorded 20 goals in 39 appearances and was an alternate for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Christie began her professional soccer career with the New York Power in the WUSA Women’s Professional league in 2003 where she finished second on the team in scoring. She then played overseas in both Sweden and France while splitting time with the National Team. She is currently playing in the WPS for the Washington Freedom after completing her first season in the WPS with The Saint Louis Athletica. In the off season, Christie recently spent two years employed by The National Geographic Society as a producer for Wild Chronicles. She provides exemplary community service as a Volunteer Youth Soccer Coach in the Washington DC area and serves on a Penn State Alumni outreach program.
Andrew McCaffrey, MHS ’90: For extraordinary achievement and valor as a member of the U. S. Marine Corps and then as a transfer enlistee to the US Army Green Berets. In July 2003, he lost his right arm just below the elbow to a hand grenade in Afghanistan. He could leave the military tomorrow and spend the rest of his life collecting 70% of his salary. Instead, Sgt. McCaffrey launched a campaign to return to combat. He has taught himself how to shoot, do pull-ups and parachute with his fake limb. At Walter Reed Medical Center, he helped design special hands and arms that can stand up to the rigors of combat better than previous models. Sgt. McCaffrey’s quest has few precedents. He is back on duty with the high-tech limb and returned to Afghanistan in 2005 as the first amputee on regular duty. Sgt. McCaffrey repeated tours in 2006-07 and in 2007-08 in Afghanistan. He has joined other amputees in educational demonstrations at the Smithsonian Museum and continues to run in 10 K Races (clocking a 7 minute mile pace) and in 100 – mile bike races. He is currently at JFK Special Warfare Center (at Fort Bragg) as a cadre and will be the first active duty soldier to receive a hand transplant.
Vance P. Zider, BHS ’72: For extraordinary achievement and service in the United States Air Force. A 1976 graduate of the Reserve Officers program at Southern Methodist, Colonel Zider began his career as Law Enforcement Flight Commander at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington DC providing Presidential Security. During his career, he was awarded numerous medals and commendations for service in Korea, The Philippines, England and The United States. In June of 1987, he joined the Ground Launched Cruise Missile (Force) and served as Commander of the 501st Missile Defense Squadron at a Royal Air Force base in England. This was a one-of–a kind 300-man squadron. Half of the unit was comprised of RAF Regiment Soldiers. His final command responsibility was at Pacific Air Command in Hawaii. In his final assignments, he served as a professor of Aerospace Science at Texas Tech and The University of Texas, San Antonio. He is currently Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at S. Clemens HS in Schertz, TX He and his wife Lynn reside in the area and have two sons, Vance P. and Robert J.
Richard Cassaro, BHS ’78: For extraordinary achievement in the field of Dentistry. Dr. Cassaro earned his Bachelors Degree at U. of South Carolina. In 1986, he graduated from the New York University College of Dentistry and joined his father’s Massapequa Park dental practice. Within 5 years, he earned Partner / Owner and established PARK DENTAL, a complete family dental service, employing multi- specialized doctors, including a Periodontist, an Endodontist and a Pediatric practice, known as Kidz in the Park. Some 15 professionals are assigned to the Park Blvd. location. As a resident, he contributes to the well – being of the community and its youth. He was a Board Director and has served as Secretary of the Youth Environmental Services (YES) from 1997 to 2006. Dr. Cassaro now serves on the Board of Directors of the Kiwanis Club. He was voted Kiwanian of the Year for 2008 & 2009. He was also the club’s “Every Day Hero” in 2008 for saving a local woman from choking. He also has been a youth soccer coach in Plainedge. He and his wife, Teresa Ann, have two children, Thomas, age 16 and Mary Beth, age 13.
Susan Rosenberg, MHS ’76: For extraordinary achievement in Science. Currently, she is The Cullen Endowed Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She was recently one of 18 scientists nationwide awarded the prestigious Director’s Pioneer Award by the National Institute of Health for her creative research into how the genetic material in living cells becomes damaged, leading to mutations and often leading to cancer. Dr. Rosenberg holds appointments in several departments at Baylor College of Medicine, where she does molecular biology research using the simple bacteria Escherichia coli to study mechanisms by which genomic instability occurs, causing gene mutations. She is a gifted lecturer conducting presentations within the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and at science and medical conferences throughout the world. Besides being the recipient of the Pioneer Award, Dr. Rosenberg was recognized by the American Society for Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine (the DeBakey Excellence in Research Award), the Genetics Society of Canada (Young Scientist Award), the Eli Lilly/National Cancer Institute of Canada Rawls Prize, and countless other recognitions during the course of her career.
Bob Nelson, BHS ‘76: For extraordinary achievement in the Performing Arts. His first “stand-up” routine on June 14, 1978. From that day on, he has performed at hundreds of comedy clubs, colleges, corporate events, casinos, theaters, and charity fund raisers across the USA. Radio City Music Hall, Las Vegas, The Ford Theater (for President Ronald Reagan), Carnegie Hall and Broadway have hosted Nelson. His television credits range from “The Merv Griffin Show” to “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”… where Mr. Carson remarked after Bob’s first appearance, “You won’t laugh any harder in five or six minutes.” Rodney Dangerfield jump- started Bob’s cable television career in his own HBO specials, “The Ninth Annual Young Comedians Special” and “It ain’t Easy Bein’ Me.” Bob went on to do two more HBO solo specials, “One Night Stand” & “Schmelson.” Bob has even showed up on the silver screen in “Kindergarten Cop” with Arnold Schwartzenagger. Currently, Nelson tours nationally and appears nightly at the Clay Cooper Theatre in Branson, MO where he lives with his wife, Trish and their son Noah.
James Karpen, MHS ‘75:For extraordinary achievement as Senior Pastor, St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church in NY City. He has been credited with leading the effort to save the landmark church (1897) from the wrecking ball. Through community outreach, the church was revitalized, attracted a new multiracial congregation and began serving the community in new ways. The church offers after- school tutoring, a women’s homeless shelter, provides food and counseling to over 250 families a day and delivers some 500 meals on wheels daily. A pioneer in interfaith work, the church shares its building with other congregations, including Congregation B’nai Jeshurun and the American Society for Muslim Advancement. His publications include “Minding the Corporate Conscience,” “September 11: One Year Later”. For exemplary service to the community (Partnership of Faith NYC, American Academy of Religion, International Bonhoeffer Society.) He holds degrees from Cornell U. and Union Seminary, including a PhD in Ethics. He is married to Dr. Charlene Floyd, they have two children, Jessie and Harry.
Matthew J. Simeone, Jr. Berner ’76: Posthumous Award. For extraordinary achievement in Law Enforcement. Inspector Simeone held a variety of assignments, from Nassau Police Academy Instructor to Assistant to the Police Commissioner. As the past Commanding Officer of Community Affairs he worked to build bridges between the Police Department and the various racial and ethnic communities that make up Nassau County. In this position, he was also responsible for coordinating bias crimes investigations, crime prevention, graffiti abatement, and the Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) Program in school districts. During his career, Matt has earned two (2) Congressional Awards, as well as meritorious and lifesaving awards. He is the creator of the Nassau County Security/Police Information Network (SPIN), which has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Matt was a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense He is survived by his wife RoseAnn and children Lucia, Frankie, Emily, Michael, Matthew, Nina and his beloved dog Bella.