In a solemn ceremony, the FDNY remembered 22 people who recently succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses.
“This ceremony has sadly become a new tradition for us in the Fire Department,” said Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “It’s not a tradition any of us enjoy or looks forward to, but rather one we persevere through together each year.”
The terrorist attacks of September 11 claimed the lives of 343 firefighters that day, but since then those dying from diseases related to the recovery effort has grown every year. The number is now above 200.
“In many ways it remains inconceivable that now, 18 years later, we are still losing our loved ones because of the attack of that day,” Nigro said.
Inside FDNY Headquarters there is a Memorial Wall dedicated to members of the FDNY lost because of the 9/11 attacks. It was unveiled in September 2011.
Nigro said the Memorial Wall will need to be expanded later this year to accommodate the inevitable names from future deaths.
The 22 new names ranged from firefighters to captains and from doctors to EMTs. Some were first responders, while others searched the debris looking for survivors.
“One recurring theme you so often hear from our members who are battling these horrible diseases, and from our families after a loved one has passed on, is despite all they’ve gone through they would do it all over again without hesitation,” said Chief of Department John Sudnik.
The ceremony concluded with a family member placing a white rose on a wooden table. As each name was called, a silver bell was rung.
“It’s a little bit overwhelming,” said Winston Lewis, whose firefighter father Charles Williams passed away in June of 2018. “I’m going to really, really miss my dad.”
Williams served with Ladder 111 in Brooklyn’s Stuyvesant Heights. Lewis recalled how his father would hold a match under a smoke detector to test the whole family’s preparedness for evacuation.
“He really believed in living a life in service,” Lewis said. “It was his whole life.”
Firefighter Richard Driscoll of East Harlem’s Engine 91 was the most recent passing. He died on July 17.
“He gave it all he could,” wife Linda Driscoll said. “The cancer may have ravaged his body, but it never ravaged his spirit.”
Driscoll said that while the loss is still raw, being with other families brings her solace.
“This is a particularly difficult time of the year for this department, but even more difficult for the families of the 22 members we honor today,” said Nigro “We will never forget them.”
Names Added to the Memorial:
• Firefighter Anthony Alese
Engine Company 9
• Doctor Michael G. Guttenberg
Bureau of Health Services
• Captain Victor C. Valva
Engine Company 167
• Firefighter Brent G. Crobak
Engine Company 251
• Firefighter Charles Williams
Ladder Company 111
• Battalion Chief Robert P. Miuccio
• Firefighter Michael T. McDonald
Ladder Company 128
• Firefighter Jimmy Martinez
Engine Company 157
• Firefighter Dennis G. Heaney
Ladder Company 157
• Firefighter John R. Elges
Ladder Company 134
• EMT Felipe A. Torre
Bureau of Training
• Paramedic Martha Stewart
EMS Station 8
• EMT Joseph A. Rodriguez
EMS Station 58
• Firefighter Daniel C. Bove
Engine Company 251
• Captain John S. Moschella
Engine Company 26
• Firefighter Richard H. Meehan
• Lieutenant Timothy P. O'Neill
Ladder Company 5
• Firefighter Kevin E. Lennon
Ladder Company 175
• Lieutenant John T. Moran
Ladder Company 41
• Firefighter Lloyd W. Stuart
Engine Company 3
• Firefighter Kevin J. Nolan
Engine Company 79
• Firefighter Richard N. Driscoll
Engine Company 91