Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo (second right) presents Merrick resident Emily Keenan (center) with the New York State Senate Achievers’ Award. Senator Fuschillo and Emily are joined by her parents Tom and Adria Keenan (second left and right) and her brother, Tom Jr. (left).
State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) today presented Merrick resident Emily Keenan with the State Senate’s Achievers’ Award, which recognizes an individual’s ability to overcome personal, physical challenges and honors their accomplishments on behalf of themselves and their community.
“Emily Keenan is a shining example of how one should never let adversity stand in the way of their dreams. Although she is only a teenager, she has already overcome obstacles to become a national championship athlete and devoted many hours of her free time towards improving the lives of younger children. Emily is a remarkable young woman with an extremely bright future ahead of her, and it is a pleasure to present her with this award,” said Senator Fuschillo.
Born with only one hand, she refused to let this challenge stand in her way. She played soccer as a young girl, co-captaining her team to earning the “Good Sportsmanship” badge, and joined track teams in middle and high school. In her sophomore year, she began a year and half long treatment for injury to her only hand and wrist, including a series of casts and shots, ultimately having to undergo surgery the summer before senior year. As soon as she received medical clearance, she began training with the Calhoun Girls’ Cross Country team, and went on to win the USA Track & Field national title in the arm amputee category.
Although she is an accomplished athlete, Emily’s true love is helping others. She is a member of her school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club, where she teaches younger students about dealing with peer pressure, the importance of making good choices, and the value of respecting the differences of their peers. She also teaches Sunday school to second-graders at St. David’s Lutheran Church.
As a result of her efforts and accomplishments, she was named “2007 Person of the Year” by the Merrick Herald.
Emily graduated from Calhoun High School this past June and will be attending Mount Saint Mary College on an academic scholarship in the fall, where she will study to become a teacher.
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