Thursday, April 7, 2011

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!

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