The Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame is proud to recognize Kaynen Peters as the recipient of the Sean Patrick Dixon Hall of Fame Raider Courage Award for 2018.

Kaynen was a 17-year old PMHS senior when he nearly lost his life in a terrible motor vehicle accident in February 2015. A traumatic brain injury as well as several extensive fractures and other internal wounds caused doctors to place him in a medically induced coma lasting three months. Kaynen subsequently underwent several surgeries, after which doctors concluded that his chances of ever being able to function independently, much less to ever walk again, were poor.

But Kaynen had no intention of giving up. With superhuman courage and determination he worked relentlessly, fighting through pain and exhaustion, to achieve his goal of being able to walk on his own. Now, after three years, Kaynen has already accomplished more than his medical professionals could have hoped for. He can walk on his own, has significantly improved his balance, and is on his way to his next goal: to run the 1.5-mile Holtsville Ecology track. Just as important as Kaynen’s physical progress has been his mental and emotional recovery. Today Kaynen’s mind functions normally, although he cannot yet speak fluently as his vocal muscles continue to regain strength. 

As the injury caused Kaynen to miss the end of his senior year and graduation, PMHS principal Dr. Randy Rusielewicz arranged for him to receive home instruction. Kaynen, ever determined, was able to complete all of his coursework with the assistance of his teacher, Ms. Biller. Even more important, Kaynen wanted to be able walk on his own to the stage to receive his diploma. That could not happen until June 23, 2017. As Dr. Rusielewicz watched Kaynen walk up to the podium that day, he recalls thinking, “This is one of the most courageous and honorable students I have ever had the privilege to know.”

Dr. George Ciresi, Kaynen’s physical therapist, says, “Kaynen has an infectious smile and an unparalleled work ethic. He is loved by everyone he meets and has been a great source of inspiration to others.” With those qualities Kaynen follows closely in the footsteps of the late Sean Patrick Dixon, for whom the Sean Patrick Dixon Raider Courage Award was named in 2017.