NY Post: David Rentas
Post publisher Lachlan Murdoch and actor Denis Leary get together yesterday to honor injured FDNY heroes Joseph DiBernardo and Jeffrey Cool and their fallen comrades.
Courtesy of New York Post
April 7, 2005 -- The families of the firefighters killed on "Black Sunday," and the FDNY's survivors of that tragic day, turned out yesterday to thank Post readers for their astonishing generosity — as the Heroes Fund topped a whopping $542,000.
"You just feel touched knowing there are so many people who care about firemen and what they do," said Firefighter Brendan Cawley, 31, of Ladder 27, who survived a five-story leap. "It makes me feel safe to go back to work."
Post publisher Lachlan Murdoch, editor-in-chief Col Allan and columnist Steve Dunleavy were given awards from the firefighters union in appreciation of The Post's launching the Heroes Fund.
"The response from the readers has been truly amazing," said Colin Myler, executive editor of The Post. "It is our privilege to have done what we've done, but we were only a vehicle. The real heroes today, and tomorrow and yesterday, are the firefighters.
"But at the end of the day, it's the real people, the readers of The Post, who donated $20, $10, $50, $100. That means a lot to us."
The Post launched the fund to benefit the families of seven firefighters killed or injured in blazes in Brooklyn and The Bronx on Jan. 23, which has come to be known as Black Sunday. It was the worst day for the FDNY since 9/11.
Lt. Curtis Meyran, John Bellew and Richard Sclafani died in the blazes.
Firefighters Jeffrey Cool, Joseph DiBernardo, Eugene Stolowski, and Cawley were badly hurt in the Bronx fire. They were trapped on the fifth floor and were left with the life-or-death choice of leaping 50 feet or burning up.
Meyran and Bellew didn't survive the fall.
UFA president Steve Cassidy thanked The Post.
"The New York Post stepped up to the plate for us from the very beginning," said Cassidy. "This was a special event that required a special response."
Yesterday afternoon's ceremony was a bittersweet reunion between the families and the firefighters themselves. It was the first time firefighters DiBernardo and Cool had seen each other since saving one another's lives during the Jan. 23 tragedy.
With the flames surrounding them, Cool pulled out a rope as DiBernardo secured it to a window guard. But as they made their way down the cord, the guard gave way and both suffered multiple shattered bones.
"Joe is truly my brother," said Cool, who took his first steps last week with a walker and a cane. "We saved each other's lives."
DiBernardo added, "I just wish Eugene and the brothers we lost were here."
Stolowski was still too badly injured to attend the ceremony, but his pregnant wife Brigid said, "He's optimistic."
The check for $542,081 was presented to the families yesterday.
"You can't fill the void or restore the happiness, but all of it helps ease the burden," said Jeanette Meyran, a mother of three whose husband was killed in The Bronx.
Actor Denis Leary, whose Firefighters Foundation provided the single largest donation of $100,000, also showed up.
"Anything that captures the public's attention for the fireman and the circumstances is important," he said.
The Post, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the UFA each donated $25,000, and Barbara Walters gave $5,000.
Inquiries about the fund can be directed to (212) 545-6962. Checks may be sent to: Heroes Fund, c/o Uniformed Firefighters Association, 204 E. 23rd St., New York, N.Y. 10010
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04-12-2005, 12:04 PM #1
“Black Sunday” Heroes Saluted in New YorkJim
September 11, 2001 - NEVER FORGET!
BETTER TO DIE ON YOUR FEET THAN LIVE ON YOUR KNEES!
04-12-2005, 04:32 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2003
- Westlake, Ohio
It's a miracle all four of these men survived, considering how critically they were injured. Thank God they all are making progress. May God help them to get stronger every day.
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