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Commack Fire Department

More than 200 pints collected at 8th annual Glenn Ciano memorial blood drive

Suffolk County Police Officer Glen Ciano. File Photo.

Some consider finding a penny with a loved ones’ date of birth or a special anniversary a message from heaven. For Commack firefighters, there was a message in the 222 pints of blood that were donated Feb. 10.

Officer Glen Ciano was the 22nd member of Suffolk County Police Department killed in the line of duty. He died Feb. 22, 2009. Ciano was a 22-year veteran of the 2nd Precinct based in Huntington, which at the time had 21 patrol cars under its command. When Ciano died, the precinct retired his car and the next patrol squad car, No. 222, was named in Ciano’s honor.

“Everybody is saying there’s something going on, that Glen sent us a message,” said John Bicocchi, president of the Commack Fire Department. “It’s like he’s saying hello.”

“Everybody is saying there’s something going on, that Glen sent us a message”
— John Bicocchi

The fire department held its 8th annual Glen Ciano memorial blood drive Feb. 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hundreds of Commack residents, firefighters and Suffolk County police officers lined up to donate.

“It is our honor to honor Glen in this way,” said Pat Fazio, commissioner of the Commack Fire Department. “Glen was someone who gave everything, 100 percent of the time and he gave it all.”

Ciano died while responding to a call for backup in 2009. While at the intersection of Vanderbilt Motor Parkway and Commack Road in Commack, his vehicle was struck by a 2007 Dodge Magnum and burst into flames upon hitting a nearby telephone pole. Commack firefighters responded to the scene.

Ciano is survived by his wife, Sue, and two children, Samantha and Daniel.

The driver of the Dodge Magnum, Jose Borbon, pled guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter and aggravated driving while intoxicated in November 2010.

Fazio said the Commack Fire Department renamed their blood drive after Ciano upon his death to honor his service to community residents and mentoring of firefighters in the fire department.

“By having a blood drive in [Ciano’s] memory, it’s a way for him to continue helping his community by supporting people and donating blood.”
— Stuart Cameron

“It’s wonderful they are continuing his memory in a most appropriate fashion by having this blood drive every year,” said Stuart Cameron, chief of department for Suffolk County police. “By having a blood drive in his memory, it’s a way for him to continue helping his community by supporting people and donating blood.”

Sue Lingenfelter, business development manager for New York Blood Center, said the organization has experienced a shortage of blood donations. Long Island needs nearly 800 pints donated per day and New York-Metro area 2,000 pints per day, according to Lingenfelter, to assure a steady supply for medical treatments and emergencies.

“Here in New York metro area, less than 2 percent of eligible donors give blood, which is the worst percentage of participation in the country,” she said.

This winter, Long Island’s blood banks have been negatively impacted by the influenza epidemic, cold weather, blizzards cancelling several blood drive events and government shutdowns.

“No one ever knows when they are going to need blood, but everyone expects it to be there,” Lingenfelter said.

Susan Ciano said she attends the event every year, talking to attendees about their memories of her husband.

“What I look forward to in February — it’s a tough month for me — is this blood drive,” she said. “When I go, I see many of the same people and many new people. I am there all day long because I want to thank people for giving their time.”

This post was last updated Feb. 15 at 2:08 p.m. 

Suffolk County police, Commack Fire Department to honor Glen Ciano at Feb. 10 event

Susan Ciano announces the 8th annual blood drive in memory of her late husband, former Suffolk County police officer Glen Ciano. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh.

Suffolk County police and Commack firefighters will be holding a blood drive to honor an officer who died in the line of duty.

The 8th annual Glen Ciano Memorial Blood Drive will be at the Commack Fire Department’s main firehouse on Jericho Turnpike Feb. 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It is our honor to honor Glen in this way,” said Pat Fazio, commissioner of the Commack Fire Department. “Glen was someone who gave everything,100 percent of the time and he gave it all.”

Officer Ciano, a 22-year Suffolk County Police Department veteran who worked out of the 2nd Precinct in Huntington, died while responding to a call for backup Feb. 22, 2009. While at the intersection of Vanderbilt Motor Parkway and Commack Road in Commack, his vehicle was struck by a 2007 Dodge Magnum and burst into flames upon hitting a nearby telephone pole.

The driver of the Dodge Magnum, Jose Borbon, pled guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter and aggravated driving while intoxicated in November 2010.

Fazio said the Commack Fire Department renamed its blood drive after Ciano upon his death to honor his service to community residents and mentoring of firefighters in the department.

“It’s wonderful they are continuing his memory in a most appropriate fashion by having this blood drive every year,” said Stuart Cameron, chief of department for Suffolk County police. “By having a blood drive in his memory, it’s a way for him to continue helping his community by supporting people an donating blood.”

Ciano’s wife, Susan, said she attends the event each and every year, talking to attendees about their memories of her husband.

“What I look forward to in February — it’s a tough month for me — is this blood drive,” she said. “When I go, I see many of the same people and many new people. I am there all day long because I want to thank people for giving their time.”

The blood drive will be held at the main fire house, located at 6309 Jericho Turnpike in Commack. Donors must be between the ages of 16, with signed parental consent, and 75 years old, with doctor’s written permission.

Firefighters respond to house fire. Photo by Jack O’Loughlin

The Commack Fire Department responded to a house fire on Astor Court shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, June 12, according to the fire department.

Firefighters arrived to find five residents — two adults and three children — safely evacuated with flames engulfing the home. About 50 firefighters battled the blaze and were assisted by the Kings Park, Smithtown, and Hauppauge fire departments. The East Northport Fire Department provided standby coverage and the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps was on the scene for EMS support.

The fire was brought under control in approximately a half-hour, under the direction of Commack Fire Chief Rich Myers and Second Assistant Chief Bobby Wilkins. The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, and is under investigation by the Town of Smithtown and Commack Fire Marshals. The home was extensively damaged, and the Red Cross was on the scene to assist the family.

A car crashed into a home on Pawnee Drive last Friday evening. Photo by Steve Silverman

By Victoria Espinoza

A car drove through the front door of a Commack home on Pawnee Drive this past Friday, Oct. 21.

The Commack Fire Department, Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Suffolk Police responded to the crash at about 7:30 p.m. Commack firefighters operated at the scene with two engines, a heavy rescue truck and fire police, under the command of Third Assistant Chief Bobby Wilkins. There were no reported injuries and the Smithtown Fire Marshal was requested to assess the damage to the home.

Huntington legislators and members of Charles A. Oddo’s family stand in front of the sign at the park now named after him. Photo from A.J. Carter

By Victoria Espinoza

Commack volunteer firefighter Charles A. Oddo was memorialized last month after a park in East Northport was named after him.

The late East Northport native and New York City police officer was killed in the line of duty in February 1996, after being fatally struck by a car while placing flares around an overturned gas truck on the Gowanus Expressway. He was 33.

More than 250 people — family, friends, neighbors and former colleagues in the police force and fire department — attended the ceremony, which included a color guard from the New York City Police Department and the Commack Fire Department, and an emotional address from Oddo’s sister, Maria Oddo Forger.

“Today, we gather together once more in the town he and I grew up in, in our neighborhood park, and celebrate his memory, his fervent heart and selfless love which sent itself out daily in helping others, never blowing a trumpet before him and never seeing his actions as being noble, no, just necessary to ensure a better outcome for someone in need,” Forger said at the park. “Today, you show us by your loyalty to him and his memory that you are indeed, family.”

Oddo grew up walking distance from Verleye Park and played there as a child. He graduated from John Glenn High School in 1981. In 1982, he joined the Commack Fire Department, where he served as a volunteer firefighter, paramedic and mechanic.

“Standing here brings back happy memories for me of a carefree time when life was simple, innocent, fun, filled with love and laughter under the protection of my brother,” Forger said.

The Commack firefighter joined the New York City Police Department in 1990. Five years later, he was transferred to Brooklyn’s Highway Unit #2, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a Suffolk County Police Department Highway Patrol sergeant.

Members of the Huntington Town Board and leaders from first responder agencies were also in attendance for the official rename of Verleye Park to the “Charles A. Oddo Verleye Park.”

Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said that park renaming is not very common in Huntington, so this was a special case.

“Charles was an inspirational person, as a family member and as a person everyone liked,” Petrone said. And when he was lost, people came by. They came in droves because people recognized who he really was and today, we want to put that memory here, in his home town, and make sure it is everlasting.”

Councilman Gene Cook (R) said recent events like the mass shooting in Orlando “are a sobering reminder of the courageous, selfless contributions that police officers, firefighters and first responders make every single day across the country.” Cook sponsored the resolution to rename the park that was unanimously passed by the town board in May.

The Commack Fire Department had asked Cook about creating a memorial. After a discussion with Petrone, it was decided that renaming the park would be most appropriate.

Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) said how this park will ensure Oddo’s legacy will never fade.

“For generations to come, children are going to come here and ask, ‘Who was Charles, what did he do, why is the park named for him?’” she said. “What they will hear is the story of a selfless man, who gave of himself to the fire department, to the police department, who helped his community. The best legacy he could leave would be to encourage youngsters to pursue the same goals.”

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