From the Secretary
By Frank Kelly, Secretary
The events of September 11th have been devastating and all of us are trying to cope as best we can. I realize there has been some dissatisfaction with regard to how little the Union has done. But believe me, setting up the Disaster Fund at the Credit Union, and keeping in touch with New York Firefighters Local 94 to ascertain what help they need is about all we can do.

The Union has been inundated with phone calls requesting help with Fund Raisers, flag ceremonies, and even to charter a plane to New York. It’s been very hard to say no to your many requests. It has been very refreshing and rewarding to see firefighters act out on their own. This is still a free country and its amazing what one can accomplish when driven by the desire to help others in need. The disaster fund at the Credit Union has received an overwhelming response. To all those who donated we offer our most heartfelt thanks.

At the last Union meeting a moment of silence was held for those who died so tragically on September 11th. We especially remembered our brother firefighters who died while trying to rescue victims trapped on the upper floors of THE WORLD TRADE CENTER. I thought about those men, their wives and their children. Some 600 children of New York’s bravest are fatherless today. Soon after this moment of silence and during our discussion pertaining to ALS engine companies a firefighter questioned if he would be detailed while the paramedic remained in HIS home company. Tragically yes, I suppose you will. You see we all have our crosses to bear… some men die bravely in fires, others get detailed out.

“Profound” and “resolute” have been repeatedly used by politicians, media folks, and people in the street since those horrific events of September 11th. I have been resolutely waiting for any politician to say something profound. However, there are no great orators today. What ever happened to people like Churchill, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and King. Where are they? Those who would command our attention, those who’s command of the English language riveted us to the edge of our seats. But yes, the events of September 11th have had a profound impact on me and we resolve to wait patiently until the murderers are dealt with.

And finally I think about all those firefighters who rushed in to do their job. And I think about their fellow firefighters who dig every day at the pile. People ask me why? Why do they do it? Why do they continue when their efforts seem so hopeless? It’s because we made a promise to each other, didn’t we? The promise was, “I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU.” No ones really ever said it or ever heard it said. It’s just understood. I wonder how many of New York’s bravest would be alive today if they stepped outside to hydrate (the biggest farce this Department ever manufactured). Or how many would have survived if their Scott Air Pack had “malfunctioned”? Or how many would be alive if they chose to avoid the inevitable and somehow walked out clean, dry and unscathed. So, I ask you, can you look your fellow firefighter in the eye and promise “I’ll be there.”? And then can you look yourself in the mirror, truthfully, and answer that question?

This is the greatest job in the world. Firefighters are the finest people I have ever met. I can truthfully say I am proud to be a firefighter. There are times in your career when you will be challenged. You should be prepared both mentally and physically to meet that challenge. The fire department is not an institution for pretenders. Rather it is an institution for dedicated men and women who realize that the ultimate sacrifice may be as near as your next response.



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