Valley Stream trustee called to duty
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Deputy Mayor John Tufarelli said the board has not yet openly discussed the impact of Grasso’s departure, but there is admiration among the trustees for their colleague. “Anybody that sacrifices for their country, God bless,” Tufarelli said. “That’s what the United States is all about.”
Grasso joined the Army Reserves in 1993 and the Navy Reserves in 2001. He served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006-07, where he was a member of Seal Team 5, working in intelligence support.
He explained that servicemen typically get a break from duty that is five times the length of their last deployment. Since he was in Iraq for eight months, he was entitled to a 40-month reprieve. Grasso knew that he would be recalled; the only question was when. “Since that time came and went, I’ve been at the edge of my seat waiting for a call,” he said. “As a military reservist, I’ve taken an oath that when my nation calls, I will answer.”
He said he doesn’t know what his exact assignment will be, but he will find out when he reports for training. The military campaign that has unfolded in Afghanistan since 2001, he said, has included the training of Afghan soldiers and police officers, building infrastructure and anti-terrorism missions.
He will leave behind his wife, Mary, and his 10-year-old daughter, Isabella. Grasso will also take a leave from his job as executive director of the Nassau County Bridge Authority, which oversees the Atlantic Beach Bridge.
Mary Grasso serves as an ombudsman for her husband’s unit, facilitating communication between the reservists and their families. “Obviously she’s concerned,” he said of his deployment, “but she supports me. My daughter, she’s a little more concerned but she’s holding up well.”
Grasso said his daughter understands the situation better now than when he first left for Iraq in 2006. He hopes to be back for her graduation from sixth grade at the William L. Buck School in June 2014.
Fare wishes his colleague much luck. “I’m extremely proud that he’s on our board and he’s serving our country,” Fare said. “Hopefully he comes back safe and sound.”