The Brewster community was fortunate to host a special VIP guest as we celebrated Veterans Day last Friday. Retired Major General Robert Kasulke, father of Brewster alum Stephen Kasulke ’02, returned to the Brewster campus for the first time since his son graduated (Pictured above, left with TJ Palmer). The New York native took the opportunity to connect with students and faculty, sharing some of his experiences as a commanding officer and a medical doctor in the Army Reserves.
In his 32 years of military service, Major General Kasulke served as Commander of the Army Reserve Medical Command; Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization, Readiness and Reserve Affairs; and Commanding General, 8th Medical Brigade, Fort Wadsworth, New York. In these roles he oversaw more than 9,000 skilled citizen soldiers in all 50 states charged with meeting the diverse medical requirements of wide-ranging military operations at home and abroad. He is recognized as a leader willing to operate outside his comfort zone and challenge conventional wisdom, creating new pathways and partnerships to get his staff the training they require to be prepared for the challenges they would meet in the field. In his civilian career, he has practiced as a general and vascular surgeon and has served as a deputy medical examiner as well as the medical director of the Hospice of Jefferson County, New York, where he currently maintains his practice.
During his trip back to Wolfeboro, he met with students in Mrs. Rafalowski’s AP Biology Class, and Mr. Palmer’s U.S. History, where he offered insights from his career and fielded questions from students and teachers. He toured the Field of Flags on DeWolf Field and attended a Veterans Day ceremony at the nearby Wright Museum of World War II where he presented to a packed room on the history and meaning of the holiday. Back on campus, the General used less structured moments to engage with individuals he met along the way, some of whom approached him to thank him for his service. To each he exhibited genuine curiosity in their stories, asking questions about their experiences at Brewster and beyond. In the evening, he hosted a dinner in the Estabrook, attended by students who have service members in their family, and discussed the importance of service in all its forms. The day concluded at the Smith Center for Brewster’s Prep Basketball game, during which he, along with Director of Safety Kevin Duffy, were recognized for their military service and celebrated by the Brewster fan base all clad in red, white, and blue.
While the campus and community members that hold such important memories for his family have changed since his last visit, the core of Brewster remains the same. “I was impressed by the serious and studious attitudes of the students and the inherent professionalism of their teachers. These are the same characteristics that stimulated Cathy and I to have our son attend Brewster. Most important, the ethos and dedication of the teachers and the staff to educating and mentoring the Brewster students remains constant, ie. outstanding, and their leadership encourages the students to take their education seriously. They want to learn. It shows.”
When asked if he had any parting message for Brewster students, the Major General Kasulk’s advice was direct and in line with the long-ranging mission of the school. “The students are receiving a superb education at Brewster. They must always remember that they have to keep learning for the rest of their lives no matter where their formal schooling takes them.”
“Focus, focus, focus,” he added.
Many thanks to Major General Kasulke for his time and engagement with our community, helping bring a special perspective to this important day when we recognize the service of all our military veterans.
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