Thread: Photos FDNY A Never Ending Story
08-17-2003, 11:55 PM #1
Photos FDNY A Never Ending Story
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Pain of Sept.11 Still Remains
Ex-NY firefighter to speak of fallen friends
Special for The ARIZONA Republic
Sept. 10, 2003 12:00 AM
Sept. 11, 2001, was going to be a good day for former Glendale firefighter Joe "Joey" Tufano.
His sister-in-law had arrived in town from Rockaway, N.Y., the day before to celebrate the birth of his daughter, who had been born a week earlier.
Then the news came. Not only was America under attack, but hundreds of friends he had once worked with as a New York City firefighter were headed for the World Trade Center.
His former special operations company, Heavy Rescue No. 4, was one of the first to respond. Seven of its firefighters were killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers, including the firefighter who replaced Tufano after he moved to Arizona and joined the Glendale Fire Department in 1997.
"It creeps on me like a blanket covering me," Tufano, 52, says of the constant memories of that day and his return to the city a week later. "I get moody. I always get flashbacks of my friends. I dream about them constantly."
Although the pain of losing so many friends is still difficult, Tufano is determined to tell their stories to anyone who will listen. It's this dedication that has him participating in two memorial tributes tomorrow, one in Goodyear, the other at Glendale's Sahuaro Ranch Park.
The events are among several across the Valley to honor the thousands of lives lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Tufano will speak to local residents at a ceremony to unveil the first phase of a new Public Service Memorial next to the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce in Goodyear.
The cities of Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Tolleson and the chamber collaborated on the monument. Linda Snidecor says the memorial commemorates police, fire and public works professionals, who are the first responders in domestic tragedies.
Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini, former Goodyear Mayor and now Arizona Rep. William O. Arnold (R, Dist. 12) are also on tap to speak. There will be a flag-raising ceremony and entertainment.
At 6 p.m., Glendale will host its first Unity Day, a re-creation of Philadelphia's annual event that encourages communities to come together and put aside their differences.
"We felt the country unified overall when there was a tragic situation," says Glendale police Sgt. Andre Anderson, the event's chairman. "I hope people go back (home) and think about how we should spend more time on concentrating on the things we (all) have in common."
The event will begin at Glendale Community College's Solari Amphitheater with opening remarks by Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and City Manager Ed Beasley. They will then lead a half-mile procession to neighboring Sahuaro Ranch Park. The festivities there are to include entertainment, food booths, cultural and children's activities, an Arizona Cardinal obstacle course and arts and crafts. There will also be a candlelight ceremony where Tufano will speak.
Tufano, who worked as Mayer fire captain before retiring, now lives near Prescott with his wife, Jodi, and children Joseph Jr., 11, and Jillian, 2. He says it's his family who helps him through the rough times.
There still are days he asks himself why he is here when his friends aren't. His mission, he said, is to make sure the memories of his "brothers," and all those whose lives were lost that day, are never forgotten.
"In civilian life, we have a tendency to forget about that particular day," Tufano says. "Fire departments don't, 'cause it's their own. I think we have to be jolted."
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