Local CSM Student, Reservist and Spike TV Joe is First Recipient
Jay McKeown, the recipient of the College of Southern Maryland Foundation's Veterans and Law Enforcement Golf Tournament's first scholarship, is not your average scholarship winner.
The 28-year-old served for five years in the U.S. Army before returning home to La Plata where he now attends classes in criminal justice at CSM, serves as a member of the Army Reserve's 11th PSYOP Division in Upper Marlboro and pursues his love for art, history and traveling to museums. If all that were not enough, McKeown is also the winner of the second season of the hit Spike TV show “Pros vs. Joes.”
But don't try to classify McKeown by his accomplishments, “I'm just a guy doing the best that I can. I get up early and get things done so that I can go out and have fun,” said McKeown.
Getting to today's successes has been a challenge at times. After graduating from McDonough High School, he was on his way to Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn. on an athletic scholarship when a drunk driver collided with McKeown and three of his teammates a week before the season began. Unable to get mentally back into the game, following intensive physical therapy, McKeown opted to join the Army a decision that he describes as changing his life.
“Military life made me look at the world and myself differently. Before I was just an athlete but now I am an athlete with direction and focus. I used to think I would become a teacher because I felt like there were a lot of kids like me who get pigeon-holed into the idea that they are athletes, and if you're an athlete you can't be an academic. I wanted to change that, but the military taught me you can be athletic and intellectual at the same time. So I decided what I really wanted to do was work for the FBI in counter-terrorism. I have always hated the idea that some people classify you based on arbitrary factors like whether you play sports or where you live,” said McKeown, who added that his time in Iraq has changed how he sees people and conflict resolution.
“When I was in Iraq, I worked a great deal with the Iraqi civilians and their personnel and I think I developed a real understanding of their culture, beliefs and politics. Those relationships and skills are something I would like to expand on in the future. I think when you build a strong relationship with anyone or group you can help counteract and prevent further acts of terrorism and violence,” said McKeown, who continues to build relationships as he pursues his associate's degree in criminal justice at CSM.
“I feel like I've grown up at CSM. Both of my parents graduated from here and my mom worked at CSM for a number of years. I think I went to nearly every summer camp they offered, and it was great because there were lots of things to do and learn. Of course, the basketball court was also close to the house so that was convenient,” said McKeown with a laugh.
“I have had so many wonderful CSM mentors since I returned from Iraq. The faculty and staff have been so helpful and understanding about my future goals, my reservist's obligations and the Pros vs. Joes' thing,” he added.
“Right now, my favorite class would have to be biology with Professor Paul Billeter. He is one of those teachers that is really great with younger students because he teaches with the goal of making sure that everyone understands. He also incorporates life lessons in with the biology and I think that is one thing he understands that others sometimes forget. Students learn so much about life from their teachers,” said McKeown.
McKeown's ability to overcome obstacles is among the attributes that impressed members of the Veteran's and Law Enforcement Scholarship Committee. “We were really impressed with McKeown's commitment to do the very best he can in every area of his life. He's dedicated to taking what he learned overseas and applying it to making our country a safer place to live and work,” said Edward Schauf, a CSM criminal justice professor and member of the scholarship committee.
“This scholarship is all about giving back to individuals who take a daily risk to serve our country and want to continue to serve,” said Maryland State Police Colonel Tim Hutchins. “The committee is pleased to be making its first award and is so grateful to everyone who has continued to make the tournament and scholarship process a success. McKeown is really the perfect choice as our first recipient. He is a dedicated public servant and that is really what this scholarship is all about,” Hutchins continued.
“It is such an honor to be chosen as a recipient and then to find out that you are the first, well, I hope I can be the start of a long tradition, where people who fight for their country can come home to educational opportunities and help build their communities,” said McKeown, who played at the second annual tournament with the Bayshore Communications team.
“I can hit the ball a long way, now accuracy is another story. But we will see what happens, I am just going to go out there, do my best and have a good time,” said McKeown.
For information on the CSM Foundation's Veterans and Law Enforcement Golf Tournament call 301-934-7649 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7649 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7649 for St. Mary's County or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7649 for Calvert County or visit http://www.csmd.edu/alumni_foundation/foundation/events/veterans.html.
2nd Annual CSM Foundation's Veteran's and Law Enforcement Golf Tournament Raises $32,545
Golfers hit the links and drove to raise scholarship funds at the College of Southern Maryland Foundation's second annual Veteran's and Law Enforcement Golf Tournament at Cedar Point Golf Course, May 3. Twenty-four teams withstood cold, overcast skies to raise $32,545 to benefit the Veterans Educational Endowment Fund.
“The CSM Foundation is pleased that businesses and the local community have continued their support of Col. Thomas “Tim” Hutchins initiative to provide scholarships to student veterans who are going into law enforcement to protect the interests of our citizens,” said Jane Loughran, CSM's director of development.
Winners included the first-place team Van Mitchell, John Mitchell, Gary Ruble and Larry Sanders who represented MSI, Inc. The second-place team was Larry Doll, Richard Turner, Ron Grubman and T.D. Reese, representing ConMed Healthcare Management; in third place was the Sheriff Mike Evans team featuring Mike Evans, Mike Stevens, Tom Hejl and Tom Buckler.
John Edelen won the men's longest drive. T.D. Reese won closest to the pin and Ted Belleavoine won the putting contest.
The tournament's General Sponsor was Marrick Homes. Captain Sponsors were Beretta U.S.A. Corp. and Facchina Group of Companies, LLC. The Lieutenant Sponsors included Chaney Enterprises, ConMed Healthcare Management, Judy Dorsey Luna – Alpha Security Inc., Colonel Tim Hutchins Secretary of the Maryland State Police, King Electric, Inc., SMECO and Maryland State Delegate Johnny Wood.
Regional golfers will have another opportunity to support CSM at the 16Th Annual Golf Classic Aug. 23. For details, visit http://www.csmd.edu/alumni_foundation/foundation/events/golf.html or contact Colleen Wilson, 301-934-7647 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7647 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7647 for St. Mary's County; 443-550-6199, Ext. 7647 for Calvert County, or e-mail email@example.com.