The family of the late Philip Williams, a former commander of Merrick’s American Legion Post No. 1282, this year awarded the $1,000 Philip L. Williams Memorial Scholarship to Jillian Sucher, a recent Calhoun High School graduate who will begin studying biology at SUNY New Paltz in the fall.
Sucher is an Emergency Medical Technician with Bellmore-Merrick Emergency Medical Services, member of Key Club and of National Honor Society. Sharon Williams, widow of Philip, called Sucher “a good student with good marks.”
But Sharon said that what mattered most to her and her adult children when they were selecting Sucher to receive the scholarship from a district-wide pool of applicants was that she “exemplifie[d] the qualities my husband held — patriotism, community service, strong work ethic, family values, strong morals.”
Sucher’s scholarship application essay focused on her work at Bellmore-Merrick EMS.
“I talked about the little things I do during the day … to make the patient feel better, feel more comfortable in the ambulance,” Sucher said. She added that she has observed that showing compassion for patients has actual medical benefits, with calmer patients tending to recover quicker.
Sucher found out she had won the scholarship at senior awards night on May 29.
“I was very pleased,” Sucher said. “I applied, but it was for the whole district, so I wasn’t expecting to win. I was very surprised.”
She subsequently participated in an award ceremony in her honor last Friday at the American Legion Post, at 160 Merrick Rd. Sharon Williams, her children and their spouses, and her grandchildren were present, as was Sucher’s parents, brother, grandmother. Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, and Legislator Dave Denenberg, of Merrick, also attended.