HEROES IN OUR MIDST, Valley Patriot of the Month – Dracut’s New VSO; US Army Veteran David Campisano


By: John Cuddy – 07-22

Dracut’s newly hired, Veterans Services Officer, David Campisano joined the US Army in 2001, serving in light infantry units until 2016. David trained as an Infantryman, military occupational specialty IIB.

He also qualified as an Army Ranger in 2009. Ranger training is voluntary and is one of the most rigorous military training courses in the world. A notable exception to volunteering for Ranger School, from July of 1967 to June of 1972, all Regular Army Officers were required to attend the Ranger course. Dave deployed to Iraq, with the Second Battalion of the 14th Infantry Regiment, known as the Golden Dragons.

The 14th was part of the 10th Mountain Division.
The US Army’s 14th Infantry Regiment, dates to the American Civil War, seeing action at Antietam, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor. Immediately after the Civil War, the unit served in the Indian Wars, in Wyoming and Arizona. The 14th Infantry deployed in the Spanish American War, Boxer Rebellion, and the Philippine Insurrection. Today, the 14th Infantry is part of the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, New York.

David deployed with the 14th Infantry Regiment, to Iraq, serving in as a Reconnaissance Scout. After his service in the Middle East, David was injured while training stateside to qualify as a Green Beret.

He later served with the legendary 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. David was on the US Army, “All Army Triathlon Team” during the spring and summer of 2008
After leaving the US Army, Dave majored in Finance at Suffolk University, where he also ran Cross Country. At graduation he received the Wealth Management Leadership Award from Suffolk University. He worked for several years in the financial planning industry, including stints at Santander Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Northwestern Mutual.

David and his fiancé, Stacey Coyne, were concerned over the twenty-two suicides a day among Veterans, so they founded 22Mohawks. Stacey, who is the Chief Executive Officer, along with David, spend most of their free time building and implementing their programs and services. They currently have six people working for the non-profit, three of which are military veterans. 22Mohawks core service is providing Veterans with emotional support dogs and lifetime life skills support training at no cost to the veteran. 22Mohawks also offers opportunities to skydive, a weeklong static line parachuting training program in Dunnellon, FL and NASCAR race car driving.

They also provide many other professional and personal development programs. 22Mohawks is offering free financial planning workshops for Veterans. They are having a Golf Tournament to raise funds to help them support Veterans on Monday August 15, 2022, at Brook Meadow Country Club in Canton, Massachusetts.
Director of Networking for 22 Mohawks is Ayman Kafel.

He is an Army Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of service in the Army. Another young Veteran on the team is Michael McGee. He is the events coordinator. Mike is a Massachusetts native who served in the US Marine Corps from 2009-2013, joining fresh out of high school at the age of 17.

Mike served in the Corp’s Engineer and Maintenance field and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Please visit their website 22Mohawks.com to learn more about this dynamic organization.

David and I discussed Veteran’s issues over breakfast at ML Shaw’s in Dracut. Registering Veterans to Vote, assisting Veterans in accessing housing, health care, job training, access to higher education, and reaching out to Veterans in distress are all important roles for each communities Veterans Services Officer, and David is prepared to meet them head on. Two of the most important things a Veteran can do, to help their brother or sister Veterans, is to check the “Veteran” box on the US Census form that is mailed to their home and have “Veteran” stamped on the Massachusetts Driver’s License.

This is how local, state, and federal government agencies can track how many Veterans live in a geographic area and affects funding of Veterans programs. The number of Veterans Services Officers and support staff assigned to a community reflects how many Veterans live in that community.

Dave and his family live in Millis, Massachusetts, with his fiancé Stacey Coyne, who he’s known since 6th grade. The couple were classmates at Norwood High, where they grew up. They have two daughters Isabella, who is sixteen, Emily who is eleven and their dog named, Winston. Dave will also finish his master’s degree in public administration this year.

Dedicated to Veterans, Stacey, and David, along with their team at 22 Mohawks, and all of Massachusetts Veterans Services Officers are truly Heroes in Our Midst.

The Dracut American Legion asks all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans, to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC! Veterans of all eras are asked to go the American Legion’s Web site www.legion.org, and join the American Legion, our mission is working with Congress, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations.

       John Cuddy

John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 25 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com ◊