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Oceanside graduates receive scholarships honoring fallen 9/11 firefighter

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Thirteen graduating Oceanside High School students have received scholarships in memory of the late Kenneth J. Marino, a firefighter who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Each year since 2003, the Kenneth J. Marino Scholarship Committee awards the funds to children of New York City active, former or retired firefighters or active Oceanside volunteer firefighters.

The scholarship recipients are:

Alexis Lund

Karli Agruso

Alexander Avila

Aydan Green

Jonathan Green

Hunter Gross

Caroline Kraemer

Emma Nastro

Jessica Rosano

Carly Schuster

Denver Tveter

Joseph Weidel

Mikayla Zaman

The scholarship committee typically gives the awards during the high school’s annual senior scholarships ceremony, but it was canceled this year due to Covid-19. So instead, the 12 committee members, all members of the Oceanside Fire Department, held a small event at the Schoolhouse Green to celebrate the students’ achievements on July 9, which would have been Marino’s 59th birthday.

“To those Oceanside High School seniors who join us this evening, we ask that you keep close to your hearts those family members who have dedicated their lives as firefighters,” said Gary Fish, a member of the scholarship committee. “Remember them, respect them and never forget the courage it takes to be a firefighter.”

Marino was an Oceanside High School student who always wanted to become a firefighter and joined the Oceanside Fire Department as a volunteer at 18 years old. From then on, wherever he went, he volunteered as a firefighter, including in Long Beach and Monroe. He eventually joined the FDNY, which was a lifelong dream of his, and worked in firehouses in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

“Being a firefighter is not a job,” Fish said. “It’s a calling. Not everyone can do what a firefighter does, and especially what they did on September 11, running into burning buildings when everyone else was running out knowing that they may not make it out themselves.

“Yet they continued to do what they were called upon to do and saved so many lives on that horrific day.”