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Marcellus alumnus donates astronaut book to DMS, SHS libraries

Amber native and 1983 Marcellus graduate David Seymour returned to his alma mater for the first time in more than three decades on Nov. 20, to donate copies of “Spacewalker,” a book penned by his friend and John F. Kennedy Space Center colleague, retired astronaut Jerry L. Ross.

“I haven’t been back in 30 years,” Mr. Seymour said as he looked around the bookshelf-lined walls of the C.S. Driver Middle School library. “I miss this place.”

cover of "Spacewalker" by Jerry RossMr. Seymour now lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and works as an assistant director of operations and astronaut rescue team leader for NASA. During the space shuttle program, which ended after Atlantis’ final mission in 2011, he was among those who manned emergency landing sites in Morocco, Gambia and the south of France, in case something went awry during a shuttle launch. He’s now helping to draft rescue procedures for Orion, the space program’s newest craft designed to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. He said Orion will have its first unmanned test flight Dec. 4, to try out its heat shields, parachutes and other critical safety equipment.

So how did Mr. Seymour go from Marcellus to Morocco?

After he graduated high school in 1983, Mr. Seymour studied insurance, architecture and surgical technology at Onondaga Community College. Too restless to spend every day in a surgical suite with unconscious patients, however, he quickly became certified as an emergency medical technician and worked for a while in the emergency room at Community General Hospital. He also served as a volunteer firefighter.

Mr. Seymour was hired by NASA after the Challenger explosion in 1986, when the space program was working to improve its emergency procedures. They were looking for young, single candidates trained in fire-fighting and scuba diving. Mr. Seymour fit the bill. Twenty-eight years later, he’s still there.

He said he hopes plenty of Marcellus students will take the time to read “Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer” and maybe even consider a career with the space program. Mr. Seymour delivered two copies of the book, one to the DMS library and one to Marcellus High School.

The author is a veteran of seven U.S. Space Shuttle missions.

Photo of DMS Principal Janet O'Mara, Marcellus grad David Seymour and DMS Librarian Mike Brown
Driver Middle School Janet O'Mara (left) holds the book donated to the school library
by 1983 Marcellus alumnus David Seymour (center). DMS Librarian Michael Brown
(right) said he's eager to add the book to the library's collection.

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