New Rochelle, NY The National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF) announced Joseph Astarita of Staten Island as the 2015 recipient of the Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship. Astarita, a sophomore at Iona College, received the scholarship in recognition of his exceptional leadership, community service and scholastic achievement.
Victoria Ovis, who passed away suddenly on May 25, 2005, had over 30 years of law enforcement experience with the United States Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. The scholarship honors one outstanding student each year in her memory with an award for a single academic year.
“First responders have given so much to defend and protect us. How better to honor their commitment to all of us than to ensure that their children achieve their full potential. Helping to better pay for their college and complete their higher education is the least we can do to honor these law enforcement and firefighters’ families,” said NLEAFCF President and Founder Al Kahn. “Joseph has demonstrated leadership among his peers and exceptional scholastic achievements as well as community service. We are proud to be a part of helping Joseph achieve his academic goals.”
Astarita is majoring in Business while at Iona. All throughout high school, he made the Principal’s list for honors. Now in college, Astarita volunteers with Meals on Wheels and with the School for Disabled Children as well as volunteering at the YMCA and serving as a member of the GRACE Foundation for students with Autism.
Astarita is grateful that the NLEAFCF scholarship has allowed him to focus on his studies and not have to take an outside job. His father, Joseph Astarita, is a retired FDNY firefighter who was injured in the line of duty.
The Victoria Ovis Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Awards are based on financial need as well as scholarship and other achievements, such as a demonstrated leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports, and volunteer activities benefiting the community. The recipient of this award must be a student from or reside and attend school in New York State or the New York metro area.
The National Law Enforcement & Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF) is dedicated to helping the children of law enforcement officers and firefighters lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty. When the ultimate sacrifice has been made by a first responder, the Foundation believes it is our responsibility as a society to ensure that their children achieve their full potential as active citizens and thriving members of the community. Through grants, college scholarships and family-friendly events, the NLEAFCF serves the needs of these children across the country regardless of how long ago or how recent their loss. The Foundation’s long-term commitment is a promise to the people who defend and protect us, a major investment in our nation’s future and in tomorrow’s heroes.