New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) today awarded Brett Blomquist the New York State Senate Achiever’s Award during the 27th annual Senate Disability Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Albany. This award recognizes the recipient's ability to overcome personal and physical challenges and celebrates both their accomplishments and contributions to the community.
A resident of Lynbrook and a recent alumnus from South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Brett has shown a willingness and amazing capacity to learn despite being born with Down’s syndrome. Placed in the maximum amount of mainstream programs, Brett has achieved consistent grades in the 90s and graduated from Rockville Centre’s South Side High School in 2006. Brett is not only a scholar, he is an accomplished athlete as well. His participation in the sport of sled hockey has made Brett a most well-rounded and respected young man. An integral player on the Long Island RoughRiders Sled Hockey Team, Brett has competed along the east coast, in central and eastern Canada and Cardiff, Wales. At the completion of the Wales tournament, the opposing team’s captain presented Brett with his jersey as an honor for player of the game.
Senator Skelos had previously met Brett when he attended a RoughRiders practice. The purpose of the meeting was to just say hello, however, eventually members of the team convinced the Senator to get on the ice and play with them for a little while. Recalling this experience Senator Skelos was amazed by how difficult and intense the sport is.
"Brett is an impressive young man with an immense amount of talent and potential," said Senator Skelos. "After mixing it up with him on the ice, I saw firsthand his competitive nature and passion for the game he loves. He has an outstanding work ethic and a wonderful outlook on life, and I am honored to award him the Achiever’s Award."
Aside from his accomplishments athletically and academically, Brett has exhibited extraordinary compassion, caring and awareness of the world and the people around him. In October of 2001, Brett had just come home from school and proudly displayed his "first ever" paycheck from a mail order house he had been working in. When told by his family how proud they were of him, and then asked by his father if he would to put the $44.08 away for holiday shopping, he very seriously and with hand on his father’s arm, asked "If it’s okay with you dad, could I donate this to the New York Fire Department? I feel so bad for all the men who died on 9/11." In November of that year, Brett and his dad went to Engine 33, Ladder 9, in the Bowery, whose house lost all 10 firefighters working that day. Presenting his check to the Captain of that house and with 20 firefighters in attendance, Brett stated that he was sorry for their loss and only wished it could be more.