For Mamaroneck’s George Brunner—grandson of decorated ball turret gunner Sergeant Paul D’Amario, who spent a year in a German POW camp during WWII after his plane was shot down—Memorial Day didn’t end with the long weekend. Instead it began what he is calling his Memorial Summer, a two-month stint interning at the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) headquarters in Maryland.
The AFSA is a nonpartisan organization which advocates on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon and at the White House on behalf of benefits of Air Force enlisted activity duty and retired service members and their families.
Interning with the AFSA is one of several service options available to those accepted into the DC-based Washington Scholars Fellowship Program, which was founded in the mid 1980’s by Rear Admiral James. J. Carey to offer college graduates interested in public service a chance to familiarize themselves with the workings of government and to meet and network with elected officials.
Mr. Brunner recently earned a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University (where he also founded a chapter of the Student Veterans of America) and applied for a Washington Scholars Fellowship. In February he was notified that he was among the 36 applicants accepted this year, and when the possibility of interning for the AFSA was presented to him, he jumped at the chance.
“I see it as a great opportunity to honor my grandfather by serving similar men, women, and the military families that stand by them,” commented Mr. Brunner who had to repeat the application process a second time as a prerequisite to being accepted into the AFSA.
He credits the Mamaroneck CAP Center’s Academics, Literacy & Literary (ALL) Assistance Program with helping him with the written portions of the application. The program also provides free SAT tutoring, homework help and college entry assistance.
“The thing about these applications, is that so much hinges on the essays you submit. Until the people you’re applying to meet you, what you put on paper is you,” said Mr. Brunner.
The program “guided me through the process of producing a strong and clear written presentation, step by step. I was amazed. So, for helping me achieve this opportunity, I have to thank the people at the ALL Program,” said Mr. Brunner.
In 2008, as president of Westchester Community College’s student government, Mr. Brunner won a NY State Best Student Government award for his group based on the streamlining and cost-cutting measures he initiated during his term. Inspired by this success, he went on to George Washington with ambitions to eventually work in public service as an elected official.
“When government is simplified and each dollar is applied to maximum effect, people’s confidence in our public institutions is greatly enhanced,” Mr. Brunner contends. “God willing, I will one day make that kind of difference as a servant of the people.”
Published author Lee Stringer, as director of the ALL Program, also helps clients with their writing.