Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Fire Department"

Piece of History

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web 2 WTC Steel at SHFD_0009

by Michael Heller

On Wednesday, November 16, Sag Harbor received a special piece of American history when a small section of steel from the World Trade Center was brought to its new home at the Sag Harbor Fire Department headquarters building on Brick Kiln Road. The triangular-shaped artifact, which measures roughly 30 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches and weighs approximately 140 pounds, was transported from New York City by the fire department’s aerial ladder truck. Similar shards of steel from the Trade Center have already been delivered to communities across the country where they have been incorporated into memorials commemorating the 9/11 attacks.

The arrival of the steel here marks the culmination of a year-long project by writer and photographer Barbara Lang, Soldier Ride organizer Reggie Cornelia and JoAnn Lyles, mother of fallen Marine Jordan Haerter. Lang, who has extensively documented the World Trade Center disaster, knew Cornelia from being involved in the Soldier Ride project. Together, Lang and Cornelia approached Lyles and told her about their idea to bring a piece of the towers to Sag Harbor, suggesting that it would be a good thing for the Sag Harbor Fire Department and the community in general.

During the ensuing year Lyles filled out and submitted and sifted through “mountains of paperwork and red tape” as part of the application process. During that time, Sag Harbor’s Doris Gronlund, mother of Linda Gronlund who perished on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, donated an American flag to the fire department that bears the names of all who were killed on that day. As the project gained momentum, the Sag Harbor Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary then joined the effort by presenting a plan to build a September 11th memorial garden within which to display the steel.

With the application approved, the aerial ladder truck, accompanied by Doris Gronlund and Sag Harbor Fire Department Chiefs Pete Garypie and John Anderson, was driven to Kennedy Airport to pick up the artifact early on Wednesday morning, arriving back in Sag Harbor at roughly 10:30 a.m., where a small installation ceremony took place.

According to Chief Garypie, the plans for the memorial garden have not been finalized, although he said that at this time, the thinking is that it will be located next to the firehouse near the corner of Columbia Street and Brick Kiln Road, and will be paved with bricks that can be purchased by the public in memory of deceased firefighters. The steel will remain on display in the main hallway at the fire department until the completion of the garden, which he hopes will be sometime in the spring.

9-11 Five K Draws Sag Squad

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Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department who participated in the Tunnel to Towers Run Saturday.

Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department who participated in the Tunnel to Towers Run Saturday.

By Andrew Rudansky

Running out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, onto the streets of Manhattan, the 23 members of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department were greeted by rows of American flags and banners. Cheering onlookers urged them on to finish the last leg of the race.

The Sag Harbor firefighters were just a small part of the 30,000 participants that took part in the 10th Anniversary Firefighter Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run last Sunday, September 25.

The run retraced the steps of firefighter Steven Siller; who on the morning of September 11, 2001 ran in full gear from the tunnel to the site of the World Trade Center. Siller along with 342 other firefighters perished in the disaster.

“It was all pretty amazing when you first come out of the tunnel and see these lines of firefighters holding flags and banners commemorating the 343 firefighters who perished,” said Sag Harbor firefighter Jeff Martin. “As you are getting a little tired, a little winded, you get a real emotional boost from all of the faces of the people on those banners.”

After taking part in the event alone last year Martin, with the help of Kelly Bailey and Tom Gardella, was determined to share the experience with their fellow firefighters.

“One of the coolest things about this event is how many people come out every year…every year it has gotten bigger and bigger,” said Bailey, who ran for the first time this year.

The race starts in Brooklyn, goes through the tunnel into Manhattan and ends near the site of the new Freedom Tower. Besides the 23 Sag Harbor firefighters who ran in the event, five Sag Harbor firefighters participated as members of the color guard.

Ted Stafford, Warren Bramoff, Ray Card, Paul Bailey and John Meighan all lined the path of the Manhattan leg of the race dressed in their Class A uniforms. Some were holding American flags, others were holding banners with the names and pictures of the “343” that perished on 9/11.

“At the finish line, when I saw all of the color guard carrying the banners of those who perished. The enormity of the loss, that’s when it hit me,” said Francis Schiavoni, 53, the oldest Sag Harbor firefighter to run.

“It was emotional what those people did that day, and what the people did ten years later to commemorate it,” said Meighan. “Especially at the end when the color guard paraded to the finish line, it was all tremendous.”

The event raised money for a number of different charitable organizations that help wounded veterans, burn victims and the children of deceased armed forces members.

“The thing I took away from it, with all the bickering and politics in this country, it was us. It was us who got together and tried to make a difference,” said Gardella.

The Sag Harbor firefighters plan on going again next year, hopefully with even more members participating.

“The run is very inspiring, if there is ever anything you think that we can’t do, just go there and you’ll see,” said Bailey.