Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today We Remember Paramedic Ricardo Quinn

Today we remember Ricardo Quinn, Paramedic with Battalion 57, FDNY.

After serving in the Coast Guard as a young man, he found his true calling as a Paramedic for the FDNY.

On the night of September 11th, Ricardo’s wife believed that her husband had been stuck at Elmhurst Hospital Center all night working as a paramedic. The next mornin
g she got a call from another paramedic who asked “Did Rick make it home?”. As it turns out, Rick hadn’t gone to Elmhurst Hospital, but instead he had rushed to the World Trade Centers to help treat the injured. Ricardo Quinn had been assigned to light duty at Elmhurst due to shoulder surgery earlier in the summer and was still recovering. Despite this, he still rushed to the towers to help. He was one of eight paramedics and emergency medical technicians who ran into the burning towers and did not make it out.

Ricardo was last seen heading into Tower 2 to help treat and evacuate those who had been injured. He first stopped to bandage a fellow medic who had been hit by falling debris. He then helped load someone into an ambulance, went inside tower 2, and never came out.

One of Rick’s favorite spots to relax was Jones Beach. That’s where he met his wife, Virginia. He made life size sand sculptures that drew crowds. His wife followed his wishes and spread his ashes on the waters he loved. Ricardo Quinn gave his life helping the victims of the World Trade Center attack. As long as we remember heroes like Ricardo, their legacy will live on.

Rick’s son wrote this memorial for his dad last year:

Hey dad just wanted to let you know that I think about you all the time. I am a father now, my son's name is Adam Joseph Quinn Jr. I wish you were here to see him. We all miss you very much and I hope that we can see each other some day... Life has been very hard since 9/11 but I am still trying to make my way as a good husband and father. I never realized how lucky I was to have you as a father until it was too late. I love you and miss you with all my heart. Love your son....

We Will Never Forget!

Today We Remember FF John Chipura, FDNY

Today we remember Firefighter John Chipura, Engine 219, FDNY.

On October 23, 1983, John Chipura survived one of the most tragic terrorist attacks in Beirut, Lebanon. He was a corporal in the Marines stationed in Beirut when terrorists with a truck bomb took out the battalion headquarters barracks and killed 241 of his fellow service me
n. Because John had stopped to talk to someone, he was still 50 yards from the barracks when it collapsed. The man walking just behind him was killed.

John kept in contact with many of the families from the bombing. He never thought he’d live to see anything worse than what he saw that day in Beirut. His family waited anxiously for 3 days after the attack in Beirut before he was able to call them and tell them he was ok. On September 11, 2001, they would also wait, but this time he wouldn't show up.

After 12 years of service to the NYPD, he followed the footsteps of his father and brother, and in 1998 joined the FDNY. He yearned for the camaraderie of the firehouse, and liked the idea of working as a team.

On September 11th, John arrived at Engine 219 to work the day tour. After reports of the first attack, he called his fiancé, Gina, to ask if she had heard from his sister who worked on the 69th floor of tower 1. Gina had no news. Later, when she heard that Nancy was safe, she called John to tell him, but it was too late. His ladder company had already left. John and the 5 other firefighters in the truck were never heard from again.

John was to marry the girl of his dreams and the love of his life, Gina, just 6 weeks after Sept. 11th. Marrying Gina was his sole focus of being the last few months of his life. He told his friends he had never been this happy. He held her so close to his heart.

When John wasn’t serving the community, he was serving his family and friends. He was a great conversationalist, problem solver, hard worker, and friend. He embraced hobbies such as country dancing and motorcycling because he liked the sense of community he found.

As a Marine, John protected our freedom, and as a police officer and a fireman, he helped so many to safety. He is a true American Hero.

His best friend left this memorial for him:

You are my best friend. Although we were not born brothers, over all those years together, that's what we became. It has been 5 months since September 11. Every hour of every day from then till now you have been in my thoughts. I miss you dearly. You represent all that is good in people. Thank you for helping me through the hard times. First you were my co-worker, then my friend, and eventually my brother. Now your my guardian angel. I will never forget you. Goodbye Chip. I'll see you again someday. I love You.

We Will Never Forget!

Today We Remember Captain Victor Brunton

Today we remember Captain Victor Brunton, Ladder 105, FDNY. He was 43-years-old when he died on September 11, 2001.

Victor was a firefighter for 22 years and gave his life at the World Trade Center. In addition to being a firefighter, Vinny was a husband to Cathy, a father to Tommy and Kelly, a neighborhood bartender, an inspiration, a
source of endless knowledge, a role model, a friend. He was a lot of things to a lot of people, and his spirit will continue to touch us all.

Anyone could go into Victor’s office at 11:30 p.m. and ask him a fire question and he would lean back in his chair and tell countless stories. He would say, “the best way to learn is from your mistakes. If you're not making mistakes, you are not trying."

Even a false alarm provided an opportunity to learn. A young firemen described how terrified he once had been at a fire with Captain Brunton. Flames were shooting out the windows and the roof. He was thinking to himself, “This guy is absolutely crazy! What is he thinking, he's John Wayne or something?' " But Captain Brunton took his arm and showed him what to do.

We will never forget!

Today We Remember FF William "Billy" Lake

Today Remember FF William “Billy” Lake, 44-years-old, Rescue 2 FDNY.

On the night of September 10th , 2001 a special dinner was held at Rescue 2 celebrating Billy’s 20th anniversary with the Fire Department. The guys at the firehouse whipped up a dinner of roast beef, shrimp, and chocolate mousse for everyone on duty that night. Laughter rang throughout the walls of the firehouse.

This would be the last dinner at the firehouse for many of the men at Rescue 2.

The next day, on September 11th, Billy Lake perished in the north tower of the WTC. Billy was no stranger to rescues and disasters. He had saved people in all manners of disaster, including a scuba dive rescue, the 1993 WTC bombing and the Oklahoma City tragedy.

As a young boy, Billy’s mom could always find him hanging out at the firehouse two blocks away. He spent all of his free time there.

On the outside he was a tough guy, with a Rescue 2 tattoo, a Harley Davidson, and labored hands. On the inside, he was a softie. He loved his son Kyler and his cat Boxie.

He was known for his dedication to saving lives.

9/11 was Billy’s last call.

We Will Never Forget!

Today We Remember Lt. Chuck Margiotta

Today we remember Lt. Chuck Margiotta, Batallion 22, FDNY, 44-years-old.

Packed into those compressed decades of Chuck Margiotta’s time on Earth was a love of people and an unquenchable, if not dizzying, zeal for accomplishment. It’s hard to believe everything this veteran firefighter crammed into his way too short life: Ivy League football stand out at Brown University, substitute public school teacher, church leader, philanthropist, youth sports coach, television and movie actor and stuntman (Hannibal, Malcolm X, Law and Order), family man, and don’t forget-gardener and voracious reader. His brother Mike observed to a reporter, “He wasn't happy unless he was doing four things at once, plus one more thing."

It was that one more thing that took him from us. On 9/11 the devoted married father of a beautiful son, 11, and daughter, 13, had just completed a 24 hour shift in Brooklyn filling in for another firefighter. As he was safely headed home, he saw the orange flames engulf the World Trade Center, turned around, and instinctively went to the nearest firehouse. There he immediately hopped on to Staten Island’s Rescue 5 FDNY truck as it sped to save civilians from the chaotic scene. Right before he reached the inferno he phoned his mother to tell her what turned out to be his last words to her: “Ma, it's bad, I love you. I'll call you later."

He left his big footprints all over New York City. Twenty years as a firefighter, fifteen in Harlem, with several years as a running back for the acclaimed FDNY football team. Even after he rose in rank to Lieutenant, he ruffled a few bosses because he was more comfortable with the rank and file folks.

For twenty years, on top of his fire duties, he substitute taught at least two days a week. He was also a private investigator for two decades. He was CYO Athletic Director at his parish and coached kids in four different sports. He was a key organizer of innumerable charity events. He did acting and stunt work across New York in numerous television and movie productions, while still finding time to plant a garden at his firehouse. 

As busy as he was, he was devoted to his family. He’d check on his parents—who lived next door, just about every day to make sure they were all right. The hole in his parents’ hearts never really healed. His dad misses the family vacations in the mountains, watching sports on television, as well as the tailgate gatherings at Giants games. His mom even misses cleaning up the constant stream of pretzel crumbs he would leave after helping with chores or home repairs. He adored his wife and kids.

Never Forget!