Middle School Teacher Honored by U.S. Defense Department

HAMPSTEAD – Hampstead Middle School seventh grade science teacher Kathe Cussen and the Military Support Club she founded in 2001 have received an award from the U.S. Department of Defense. The Hampstead School Board learned of the award at its Tuesday, June 11 meeting.

The Military Support Club is still going strong after 12 years, and provides continuous support for military men and women. Cussen told the board a former student of hers and a former member of the Military Support Club, Russell Chandonnet, a member of the National Guard and a University of New Hampshire student, had nominated her and the club for the award through the “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.”

Sgt. Major James Goss from the Department of Defense gave Cussen a certificate for Hampstead Middle School and a plaque for her, displaying what she has done to support the military personnel. Cussen told the board, “We have adopted 192 service personnel and sent 853 packages overseas, and one of those military friends is one of your board members, Jason Cipriano, when he was in the Navy. He brought us a flag that had flown overseas and presented it to the class.”

HMS Principal Patti Grassbaugh expressed her admiration and pride in Cussen and the Military Support Club, saying she knows personally the importance of what the Military Support Club kids do. “They have adopted my daughter-in-law who is deployed overseas, and she has told me just how much she appreciates hearing from the students and how important that support is for her,” Grassbaugh said. “I couldn’t be prouder of what Kathe and the club do. It is really remarkable,”

Cipriano had read into the record his remarks about Cussen and the Military Support Club (MSC).
“Some 10 years ago while serving on active duty in the United States Navy, I was fortunate to be a beneficiary of the MSC,” his statement reads. “I can safely say that in the long hours and days of an overseas deployment, material support, the food, and psychological support, the letters and cards, are invaluable, welcome and have a lasting effect on the service member. My cards hung throughout my time, prominently displayed in my office. On my return I had the opportunity to speak with the club and present then with a flag flown while on deployment.”

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