Lt. Colonel Joseph J. Fenty Jr. Art Scholarship winner announcement

The winner of Lt. Colonel Joseph J. Fenty Jr. Art scholarship funded by Salenger, Sack, Kimmel and Bavaro LLP is John Mellilo from East Northport, NY.  He will participate in seven weekly sessions of Painting and Coastal Landscapes class running November 7 through December 19.

John Melillo is a disabled rated Vietnam Veteran.  Six months after earning his B.S. degree at Cornell University in 1969, John was called to service in the Army.  He was stationed in Long Binh, the largest military installation in Vietnam at that time, where he was assigned to a Combat Military Police Unit as a Front Line commander of 26 MPs.  Upon returning home to the U.S., John’s entrepreneurial spirit found him starting companies in the fields of Entertainment, Oil & Gas, Clothing, Real Estate, Marketing/Printing, and Technology, some of which are still in business today.

After his “retirement” in 2015, John decided to take art classes at the Art League of Long Island, Suffolk CC, the Southampton Cultural Center as well as the School of Visual Arts, the New York Academy of Art, Christies and Sotheby’s in NYC.  Those early classes ignited a spark and what followed was a determination to get back in the game as an art entrepreneur.  He reasoned that in order to be a success in the business of art, he needed to learn how to be an artist.  As he notes from his life lesson, “a smart man knows what he doesn’t know”.   About his preferred medium, “Oil Painting is my passion. When painting I look to make it real by pushing back and bringing things forward that I want to emphasize. It gives a painting real life when done properly…In the Final Analysis, I’ve learned you have to feel your passion and act boldly. Do NOT BE AFRAID OF FAILURE because painting is a VERY HUMBLING EXPERIENCE no matter who you are and what level you’re at.”

As supporters of the men and women serving in the armed forces, we at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro were touched by Art League of Long Island Executive Director Charlee Miller’s loving remembrance of her son Joe Fenty. As an Airborne Ranger & Commander of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Lt. Colonel Fenty was a brother and mentor to the soldiers he commanded. On May 5, 2006, he and nine soldiers were killed while serving in the Kunar province in Afghanistan when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed during combat operations.  “I am grateful for Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro’s gift to our heroes and for honoring the memory of my dear son Joe”, said Miller.

In life he was a loving husband of Kristin, his wife of 20 years. Joe became a dad for the first time in April 2006, never having had the opportunity to hold little Lauren Olivia in his arms. After earning a degree in business management he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant from UNCC Charlotte, and in the ensuing years he earned his masters in education from Troy State University. An elite athlete, he was a marathon-runner, an ultra-marathon runner, a cross-country skier, mountain biker, and kayaker.  He also was a proud supporter of the arts and recognized how it nurtured the mind and the soul.