Music to Their Ears: The PAPD Pipes and Drums Scholarships

By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff

Three high school students who aspire to careers in law enforcement – and who want to continue their participation in pipe and drum bands – recently were awarded scholarships they hope will help them achieve their future life goals.

Brendan Gillespie, 18, along with James Flynn Jr. and Jovanny Iglesia, who are both in the NYPD Explorers Program, received $1,000 scholarships from the PAPD Pipes and Drums Band to further their education.

Mom Michelle Dad Brian and Brenda

The Gillespie family:  Brendan Gillespie (right) stands with his mother Michelle and father Brian (center).


Scholarship recipients Jovanny Iglesia (second from left) and James Flynn Jr. (third from left) are flanked by members of the PAPD, including scholarship chairman Brian Cassidy, (far left) and Deputy Superintendent Edward Cetnar (second from right).

The annual scholarships were established in memory of PAPD Police Officers Liam Callaghan, Steve Huczko and Richie Rodriguez, all members of the Port Authority’s Pipes and Drums Band who died in the 9/11 terror attacks. So far, the band has awarded $18,000 to 21 different high school students who belong to pipe bands and are interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement. Successful recipients are well-rounded students who earn good grades and are involved in extra-curricular activities.

“Winning a memorial scholarship is significant no matter which one it is,” said Brendan Gillespie’s father, Brian, who knew and played with the three fallen PAPD officers. “But when our son wins a scholarship named after three friends that I played in the band with, I know that Liam, Steve and Richie are looking down upon Brendan and that he knows the significance of ‘Always Honored, Never Forgotten’.”


The Port Authority Pipes and Drums in full regalia.

Brendan’s parents are both in pipes and drums bands. Brendan, a graduate of Manasquan High School in New Jersey who plans to attend Brookdale Community College in the fall, plays along with his mother, Michelle, as drummers in the Jersey Shore Shillelagh Pipes and Drums band. Brendan’s father plays for Monmouth County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums.

James and Jovanny both graduated from Xaverian High School in Brooklyn. James, who was awarded ‘Explorer of the Year’ by the New York Police Department’s Explorer Program, is planning to attend Iona College. Jovanny will attend Saint Francis College in Brooklyn. He, too, was an explorer in the NYPD program. They both plan to pursue careers in law enforcement. Brendan plans to study Music and Theatre, as well as Criminal Justice.

“Sixteen years ago, collectively as a nation, we pledged to never forget the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11,” said scholarship chairman and PAPD Officer Brian Cassidy. “Through our commitment to these scholarships we as a pipe band are following through with this pledge of remembering our lost brothers, as well as making sure their legacy is passed on to future generations.”

Brendan at approx 1 year old

Brendan Gillespie as a toddler with the PAPD Pipes and Drums

For information about next year’s scholarships, go to PAPD Memorial Scholarship or contact Brian Cassidy at

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