Huntington seniors singled out an essential member of their team with special recognition at the 54th annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards ceremony in the high school auditorium late last week.
West Point bound senior Teddi Carnesi was introduced to the big crowd early in the program to present the first ever Blue Devil Unsung Hero Award.
“Tonight’s recipient is someone who would rather stay out of the limelight,” Ms. Carnesi said. “He displays a sometimes gruff exterior. Some might even think he’s a tough guy. But the reality is that he’s a real softie, especially for the Blue Devils. He’s often heard saying ‘it can’t be done’ about some request. But then he finds a way to not only accomplish what was asked, but to go far beyond it.”
Mr. Austin assumed the post of lead operations manager for Huntington UFSD in January 2016. He previously served as operations supervisor for five years. He supervises the district’s facilities and the team that operates the eight school buildings and their surrounding grounds. He works with the contractors, architects and design professionals that the district engages.
The recipient of the New York State Senate Volunteer Firefighters Award, Mr. Austin also received a state Certificate of Merit related to fighting wildfires in Suffolk.
“He shared monies from the buildings and grounds equipment budget to allow for the purchase of two new wrestling mats, a new sound system for the gym, new volleyball net posts, a new ice machine, new aluminum competition strips for fencing and numerous other items,” Ms. Carnesi said. “He installed three Hudl cameras so we can film games in the gym, on the turf field and at Finley and built an outdoor basketball court at the high school. He supervised the complete renovation of the high school gym and the lower level locker rooms, offices, film room, weight room and bathrooms. He helped oversee the installation of the new gym banners and the renovation of the gym lobby area and two new concrete staircases up to the tennis courts.”
The senior went on to tell that the crowd that Mr. Austin put in motion the renovation of the STEM gym and he will lead renovations to the Finley gym this summer. “He oversaw the reconstruction of the high school baseball field and spectator areas at the tennis court complex last summer and is currently planning for the construction of a second high school turf field,” Ms. Carnesi said. “He has also developed a project that upon completion will provide the high school with a new cardio and fitness room.”
The owner and operator of Firehouse Plumbing in Ronkonkoma from 1990 to 2002, Mr. Austin holds many certifications and licenses in his field, including Suffolk County electrical and plumbing licenses, a Town of Islip plumbing license, New York State asbestos inspector and incident command system certifications, national fire alarm level one and level two certifications, HVAC certification (controls, air distribution, maintenance and testing), federal EPA certification (40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F) and air conditioning and refrigeration certification.
“He can often be spotted watching games far off in the distance,” Ms. Carnesi told the crowd. “While he is working in his office in the late afternoon or night, he often has a TV tuned to the Blue Devil sports YouTube station playing in the background.”
As he walked to the front of the auditorium to be presented with a handsome plaque by Ms. Carnesi and pose for a series of commemorative photos, Mr. Austin received hearty applause from the senior athletes and their coaches and parents.