Tags Posts tagged with "FDNY"

FDNY

by -
0 2065

Christopher Raguso posthumously awarded title of honorary chief by Commack Fire Department

A military helicopter crash in Iraq has hit close to home for both the Commack and
Elwood communities.

Commack resident Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, was among those killed in the March 15 helicopter crash. The 39-year-old was one of seven airmen on board a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter carrying out a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, an American-led mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, according to the United States Department of Defense. The DOD said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Raguso was assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton. His mother, Laura Raguso of East Northport, said she pleaded with him not to go on this most
recent deployment.

“I begged him not to do it,” she said at a press conference, but that Raguso responded by saying if he didn’t go and do it, who would? “As a mother, he crushed me that day.”

“I begged him not to do it.”
— Laura Raguso

Raguso was also a 13-year veteran of the Fire Department of the City of New York, where he was currently serving as a lieutenant assigned to Battalion 50 in Queens. On six different occasions, he was cited for bravery and life-saving actions either for his individual actions or as part of a unit.

“Lt. Raguso and Fire Marshal [Christopher] Zanetis bravely wore two uniforms in their extraordinary lives of service    as New York City firefighters and as members of the United States Armed Forces,” said FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “The hearts and prayers of the entire department are with their loved ones and with the families of their five fellow service members who lost their lives defending our country.”

But to Commack residents, Raguso was perhaps best known for his service with the Commack Fire Department as lieutenant of Company 4, located off Kings Park Road. He  joined as a volunteer in 2000, according to Commack Fire Commissioner Pat Fazio, and  previously served as captain of Company 2
located on Elwood Road.

“He was a devoted father, devoted husband, devoted family man and a true patriot to our company,” Fazio said. “It’s unfortunate the timing and passing of his death while serving his country and fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy.”

“He was a devoted father, devoted husband, devoted family man and a true patriot to our company.”
— Pat Fazio

Raguso was posthumously bestowed the rank of honorary fire chief based on a unanimous vote of the Commack Fire Department’s membership March 16. He was well known in the firehouse as he played an “integral role” in training new members, according to Fazio.

“It’s not for any other reason other than he would have achieved the rank of chief, no doubt,” the commissioner said. “It was an aspiration he had, it was well known and something he would have achieved.”

Fazio said several members of the Commack Fire Department drove to Delaware to join Raguso’s wife, Carmela, and the family at Dover Air Force Base to see Raguso remains return home March 18.

“We will forever be there for the family,” he said. “His wife and his children will forever be part of the family.”

Elwood school district also mourned Raguso’s passing; he was a 1997 graduate of John Glenn High School.

“The district extends its deepest condolences to Lt. Raguso’s family and friends,” wrote Superintendent Kenneth Bossert in a message on the district’s website. “He died a true hero serving our country, and we join the entire nation in mourning his passing.”

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a Staten Island-based nonprofit in memory of New York firefighter Stephen Siller who died in the 9/11 attacks, has stepped forward to donate $100,000 toward paying off the Raguso family’s mortgage.

“He died a true hero serving our country, and we join the entire nation in mourning his passing.”
— Kenneth Bossert

“Our mission is to honor and support military personnel and first responders,” said spokeswoman Catherine Christman. “In Christopher Raguso, you have both in one person.”

Christman said the Raguso family has undergone many recent hardships as his wife, Carmela, is a recent breast cancer survivor. He is also survived by his two daughters, Eva Rose, 5, and Mila Teresa, 6. No details on his wake or funeral arrangements were available as of  this publication’s press time.

Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches; Capt. Christopher Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City; and Staff Sgt. Dashan  Briggs, of Port Jefferson Station, were the others from the rescue wing involved in the fatal crash, according to the DOD. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered flags on all state government buildings to be flown at half-staff in their honor March 19.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) similarly directed the flags on all Town of Huntington buildings flown at half-staff on Monday.

“The people in our town are deeply grateful to your loved ones for their sacrifice in the protection of our nation’s security,” Lupinacci said in a statement. “On behalf [of] the Town of Huntington, you have our deepest sympathies and our prayers will be with you and your families at this sad and tragic time.” Master Sgt. William Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida, and Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida, both assigned to the Air Force Reserve 308th Rescue Squadron, also died in the crash.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), a current member of the U.S. Army Reserve, mourned the fallen service members in a statement.

“The people in our town are deeply grateful to your loved ones for their sacrifice in the protection of our nation’s security.”
— Chad Lupinacci

“These fallen airmen are the best of who we are,” he said. “There are no words that fully describe the profound sorrow and immense gratitude that consume our community today. There are no words to describe the emptiness this loss leaves in the heart of every Long Islander. There is, however, no shortage of ways to describe these seven service members — selfless, heroes, patriots and everything we aspire to be as a people, as a nation and as Americans.”

Commack Fire Department is encouraging those who wish to make a donation to the Raguso family to donate funds in Raguso’s name to the Silver Shield Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational support for children and widows of firefighters killed in the line of duty. Donations can be made by visiting www.silvershieldfoundation.org/donate or mailing to: Silver Shield Foundation, 870 United Nations Plaza, 1st Floor, New York, NY 10017.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is also collecting donations from residents to continue helping pay off the Raguso family’s mortgage. Donations can be made by visiting: www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/t2traguso.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to support Raguso’s daughters at www.gofundme.com/5a6lxdc. It has received more than $29,000 of its $50,000 goal as of 3:15 p.m. March 19.

In addition, the St. James Fire Department announced it will be donating the proceeds of its Pancakes with the Easter Bunny event, set for March 25 from 8 to 11 a.m., to the Tunnel to Towers foundation and Raguso family. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children and the fifth family member eats free.

by -
0 697
Smithtown and fellow firefighters stop to salute 9/11 hero Lawrence Stack, whose remains were honored during a service at Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in St. James. Photo from FDNY

All of Smithtown came to a stop on Friday as the community said a final goodbye to one of its own.

FDNY Battalion Chief Lawrence T. Stack of Lake Ronkonkoma was laid to rest at Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church of St. James nearly 15 years after his death on Sept. 11, 2001. The North Shore native, who died helping others in the horrific terrorist attacks of that tragic day, was never recovered from the rubble, forcing his family to hold out hope for a proper Catholic funeral ever since.

A bizarre twist of fate made Stack’s funeral and burial possible on Friday, on what would have been his 49th wedding anniversary with his wife Theresa. While his remains were never found, two vials of blood he donated to a bone marrow bank nearly six months before his death allowed his family to orchestrate a final goodbye in Smithtown.

Lawrence Stack, 58, received a full line-of-duty service on Friday as Smithtown shut down several streets surrounding the St. James church to accommodate the number of people who stopped to honor him, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and countless more distinguished guests. It wasn’t until a year ago that his wife Theresa Stack said she remembered she and her husband donating blood about six months before 9/11 with hopes of matching a Long Island boy who was fighting cancer. Upon remembering and pursuing that blood, Theresa Stack said she found it in a Minnesota blood bank. That blood was buried on Friday.

“We’ve always honored him, respected him, loved him, and we never forgot him. But now he will rest with the members of the FDNY and the military at the Calverton National Cemetery,” wife Theresa Stack said. “I’m happy, and my family is happy, that we finally have some place to go to. I want Larry’s story to be out there so people don’t forget that there are families still suffering from that terrible day.”

Lawrence Stack’s son Michael, who is a lieutenant with the FDNY with Ladder 176, said he would remember his father as someone dedicated to helping others at any cost. In a statement to the FDNY’s Facebook page, Michael Stack detailed the accounts he received of his father’s last day.

“On Sept. 11, 2001, he was at the safety battalion at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, putting the finishing touches on the [fatal] Father’s Day fire report, when he heard about the plane hitting the north tower,” he said. “He went on the roof, looked through his binoculars, and saw the south tower get hit with the second plane. He put his binoculars down, looked to the other chiefs and firefighters and said, ‘Guys, I think they’re going to need us over there.’”

Brian Stack of Ladder 123 was 30 years old when his father died in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said he was thankful to have been able to spend as much time as he did with his father, and felt for the younger children of other heroes who died that day.

“I understood what happened on September 11 because it’s work, it’s the fire department. Danger is always right around the corner. It’s part of the job. I was 30 years old when he died, and I know that I’m lucky that I got more time with my father than some of the men and women coming on the job now,” Brian Stack said. “They were much younger when they lost their fathers. We were fortunate to have so many years with him in our lives.”

In a statement, the New York Blood Center said it was an honor to help bring peace to the Stack family.

“To every member of the FDNY, NYPD and to every rescue worker: We honor you all,” the center said in a statement on its Facebook page. “We honor those fallen in the line of service and those who serve. You protect life in our communities with determination, vision and courage every single day.”

Lawrence Stack worked with the FDNY for 33 years and was one of 343 FDNY members who died on Sept. 11th. He joined the department in 1968, first assigned to Ladder Company 107 and then Ladder Company 175 in Brooklyn. In 1981, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Ladder Company 35 in Manhattan. Three years later, he was promoted to captain and assigned to Division 7 in the Bronx, and in 1990, he was promoted to battalion chief, working in Queens at the Bureau of Operations and the Safety Battalion. Prior to joining the FDNY, he served in the United States Navy for six years, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

2016 Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame inductees Tom Combs, Chuck Downey and Rich Cimini pose for a photo at the induction announcement press conference. Photo by Alex Petroski

The Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that they will be inducting eight new members in 2016. The class includes Setauket resident Rich Cimini, the New York Jets beat reporter for ESPN; Commack resident Chuck Downey, the first Stony Brook University athlete to sign a professional sports contract; and Setauket resident Tom Combs, the athletic director at Patchogue-Medford High School and a standout football star for Smithtown, among others.

Television and radio host David Weiss introduced the inductees at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge during the press conference.

“It’s an honor to be associated with such great inductees, great athletes and coaches,” Cimini said during the press conference after he was introduced. “I’m just a guy who got cut from his varsity baseball team by Bill Batewell. At least he’s a Hall of Famer, so I can say that I got cut by a Hall of Fame coach.”

Cimini graduated from Sachem High School in 1981. He has covered the Jets for Newsday, the Daily News and now ESPN during his long career as a reporter.

“It has been such a great ride that I have a fear that I’m going to wake up one day and realize it’s just been a dream, and that I actually have to go out and get a real job,” Cimini said.

Downey, who is currently a Battalion Chief for the FDNY, credited his parents for instilling values of hard work that led him to be successful in life. His father Raymond, who was also an FDNY firefighter, was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Suffolk is very special, and to be here today with these other inductees — thank you very much,” Downey said during the press conference. He was a three-sport athlete at Deer Park High School, before playing football at Stony Brook University, and ultimately signing an NFL contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988.

Combs has played, coached and been an athletic director in Suffolk County dating back to the 1970s. He is also a member of the Hall’s board of trustees.

“This is quite a talented class,” Combs said. “I’ve been involved with the Hall of Fame for the last five years and I can honestly say this is a very intimidating group with some amazing accomplishments.”

The other inductees include Jillian Byers, a thre-sport standout from Northport who went on to become a four-time All-American in lacrosse; Frank Romeo, who was a longtime boys’ basketball coach at Comsewogue High School who was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame last year; and Laura Gentile, Maria Michta-Coffey and Isaac Ramaswamy, all of whom went to Sachem.

Richie LoNigro, owner of Port Jefferson Sporting Goods, will also receive a Special Recognition Award for his dedication to the athletes of Suffolk County. He is one of only six people in the country to receive the Rawlings Sporting Goods Silver Glove Award, which has been given to some of the most respected people in the sporting good industry

The ceremony for the 2016 inductees will take place on May 6, also at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge. Tickets are $95. For more information visit http://www.suffolksportshof.com.

Social

9,229FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,143FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe