Today we remember Chief Peter Ganci, FDNY, who died on September 11, 2001.
A 33-year department veteran, Chief Ganci managed all uniformed personnel, and was also responsible for the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. He rose to lieutenant in 1977, captain in 1983 and battalion chief in 1987, and was promoted to deputy chief in 1993, when he was working in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.
In 1997 Chief Ganci was appointed chief of operations, the second highest uniformed position in the Fire Department. In 1999, he was named acting chief.
The thing about Peter Ganci was, he didn't flaunt it. He was just a regular guy living with his family on Long Island, so at peace with himself that if you asked him what he did for a living, he would just say, "I'm a fireman in the city."
"He would never say that he was the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the department," said Fire Marshal Steven Mosiello, his longtime friend and executive assistant.
Most of the time, Pete Ganci, who was 54, was that regular guy down the street who happened to be a decorated hero and boss: the guy who loved to laugh, golf, go clamming in Great South Bay. On Deputy Fire Commissioner Lynn Tierney's desk is a photograph of him in formal uniform — five stars on his collar and all — and a pink headband that says "Happy Birthday." The photograph's meaning is simple, she said: "He was man enough to wear a pink headband that said `Happy Birthday.'"
Then there were those times when Pete Ganci was Chief Ganci, as on that last morning. In the eerie calm between the collapse of the two towers, Deputy Fire Commissioner Michael Regan recalled, "Pete Ganci directed every civilian and every firefighter to go north. He went south."
Today we remember William L. Henry Jr., Rescue 1, FDNY.
William L. Henry Jr., who was known as Bill or Buddy, had a galaxy of friends and admirers that stretched from the Ladder 24 firehouse on West 31st Street to the paddle tennis courts at wind-swept Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. He spent his vacations in places like Brazil, and his free time fixing up houses for people like his mother, Ethel. People would compliment his work; Mr. Henry tended to agree with them. "Yeah," he'd say, "it's a beautiful thing."
Outside of his family, his job is what he lived for. Below are messages left for Buddy in remembrance of his life:
It's a nice, sunny and hot day, Buddy. Just the way you liked it, Big Brother. My tears still flow. Love You Forever, Ellen
~ Ellen C. Henry
To my buddy, You were always in my corner with a wise crack or joke to make my day! Thank you for everything. Most will never realize your greatness but all who knew you knows you would not have had life any other way! Love you always! I'll always be your biggest fan!
~ Shavonne Baez
My heart goes out to the family and friends. May you know his passing was not in vain, but acting unselfishly, to save others. For this reason he will always be remembered as a Hero to this great country we live in. God Bless!!!
~ Veronica Ayres,Jackson, Michigan
Just today I purchased a bracelet with William's name on it. I want you to know that I will wear this bracelet proudly, and when asked about it I will tell everyone about William's bravery and how he lost his life doing what he loved which was to help save others.
May he rest in peace.
~ Marion M., Floral Park, NY