The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

Box Top

Robert Nash:
2014 Winner
FDNY Engine 260

Robert Nash

Winning Essay

As children we all look up to important people in our lives as our heroes. A hero could be your Dad, older brother, teacher, local policeman, firefighter, or a fictional super hero from TV. In general it is someone very special to you that do noble or brave deeds.  My Father is a hero to me; this is because he chose to live his life with a sense of purpose different than most men.  He wanted to make a difference in people’s lives so he became a New York City firefighter. There are many great heroes in the world.  Some great American heroes include, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart,  the presidents on Mount Rushmore; including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, just to name a few. These people all lived normal lives, and had no extraordinary talents, except the will to do what is the best for mankind and society. They did not possess extreme athletic abilities, or unobtainable intelligence, they were just good people, who others looked to for guidance. I consider them to be heroes.

As children we are also told of legends, people with extraordinary talent that are known to the world. Legends unlike heroes are considered to be special to many people, where as heroes are usually more personal to the individual. Many people consider John Wayne to be a legend for his portrayal of very brave characters in movies. The Beatles are called legends because they set the tone for Rock and Roll in the 1960’s. Babe Ruth is a legend for his success in major league baseball, and Mohamad Ali for his skill at boxing. Legends tend to be global, someone that society and the media deem extra special that have unique talents, but are not usually accessible to the average citizen. Another aspect that separates legends from heroes is that legends usually get most of their notoriety after they pass away and their stories becomes enhanced as it is passed down through the generations.

As I grew up and became more interested in the world around me, I still held the ideal that my Dad was my hero, but I also found someone else that I admired as well. He is someone that got my attention as an eighth grader, and has stayed with me ever since. Like my father, he gave me insight into the type of man I would like to become and the type of career, and life I want to live. I have never met this man, and I shall never get a chance to. This is because this man gave his life for our country on June 28th 2005. He is Lieutenant Michael Murphy; a United States Navy Seal who was post humorously awarded the Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Murphy was not anyone extra special; in the sense that he did not possess any extraordinary skills, but he lived his life with an unusual sense of honor, commitment and responsibility. As a young man in high school he earned the nickname, “Murph the Protector”, because he intervened when he witnessed a mentally challenged student being bullied by several other students. He also took it upon himself to aid a homeless man who was being menaced while collecting cans for survival. His interest in helping those less fortunate and vulnerable led to a career in the military.  In June of 2005 Michael Murphy led a four man reconnaissance team of Navy SEALs into Afghanistan to look for a high value Taliban leader. Early into the mission the team was discovered and soon Michael Murphy and his team were surrounded by over two hundred enemy combatants. As the four SEALs were falling down the mountain and giving a fight with everything they had, Lt. Murphy made the ultimate sacrifice for his teammates. Knowing that their command had no idea what was going on and that his team needed help, Lt Murphy broke from cover,  climbed into the heart of the firefight , and called back to base on his satellite phone. This action saved the life of his teammate Marcus Luttrell.  Lt Michael Murphy did this with no regard for his own safety and soon after the call was made, Lt Murphy was struck by multiple bullets and died.  His actions were above and beyond the call of duty and was recognized as being worthy of obtaining the highest military award, that of the Medal of Honor. This award has very few recipients because it is so difficult to obtain. Only those soldiers who exemplify what is deemed to be service above and beyond the call of duty can receive it. I believe Lt. Murphy, showed the greatest qualities that a man can possess. In his final moments on earth he showed an extraordinary sense of duty, honor and sacrifice. His unselfish decision to give his own life so that his men would have a chance of survival is truly the qualities that a hero possesses.

Some people may look at the story of Lt. Michael Murphy and of his last moments alive, as well as the way he lived his life as that of a modern day legend. It is important to pass his story on to generations to come. However I believe that his story should be told for the fact that it is, without exaggeration or embellishments, so that he remains a hero, and does not become a legend. This is because unlike a legend such as John Wayne and the others mentioned above, Lt. Michael Murphy lived his life and made his choices based solely on his strong sense of honor, and knowing the right thing to do, not because he had an extraordinary skill. This explains why I feel such admiration and respect for the person that Lt. Murphy was. My goals of becoming an officer in the United States Military, is a culmination of many years, serving my community as a member of the Boy Scouts of America. I set a goal for myself of obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, and in an effort to reach that goal; I planned my Eagle project to help the United States service personnel overseas. I was encourage to pursue goals like this based on the great examples I had in my father, and Lt. Murphy, their influence on my life is very significant to the choices I have made thus far and the ones I will make going forward. We all have a sense of what is right and what is wrong, and people like my Dad and Lt. Murphy exemplify these attributes. Becoming a hero is not a goal a person sets for themselves, becoming a legend can be. I hope that my heroes are remembered as such and not as someone who set out to obtain greatness, because their greatness comes from within.


We would like to wish Robert Nash the best of luck moving on to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Congratulations!

My name is Robert Nash, I am honored to have been selected as a 2014 Christopher A. Santora Scholarship winner. I am a senior at Massapequa High School in Massapequa, New York. I live with my parents, Alice and Frank and my older brother Patrick. My mother is a Nurse at Winthrop University hospital and my father is a Firefighter in Engine 260 in Long Island City. My brother Patrick is a teaching major specializing in special education at SUNY Plattsburgh.

In high school I am a member of the National Honor Society, and Senior Nation. Senior Nation is a club encouraging upper classmen to mentor younger classmen as they transition into high school life. In addition I have participated in two varsity sports, lacrosse and wrestling. This year in wrestling I was a one of the team captains and helped lead my team to a successful season.  One of the biggest achievements in my life was obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in my Boy Scout Troop #776, on April 9, 2014.  To earn this rank I was required to show leadership skills and do a community service project. My project consisted of sending supplies to our soldiers overseas. In total 34 care packages were sent to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the fall I will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where I will be studying engineering. In addition, I will be participating in the Army ROTC program at RIT. Being a member of ROTC will help me achieve my goal of becoming an officer in the United States Army. As a teacher and then a firefighter Christopher showed how important it is to give back to the community. As an engineer and officer in the US Army I plan on doing the same. I am grateful for having been selected for this scholarship and getting this opportunity. I admire Christopher for the life he lead and will honor his memory.

Box Bottom