July 8, 2006 -- ANYONE who didn't shed a tear must have had a heart of lead. The Bravest and the Finest yesterday played host to the Toughest -and I really mean the toughest. There was Capt. Ryan Kules, 25, of Phoenix, an officer in the 1st Armored Division, walking off the bus at the Rockaway Point Yacht Club. Two hours later, he was racing across the water on a ski, which was pretty wild because last year in Taji, Iraq, a bomb hit his Humvee and blew off his right arm and left leg. "You know, being alive is a big deal," he said after jumping the wake of a speedboat on a specially adapted ski. "No, I don't feel sorry for myself. That would be too disrespectful for two of my men who didn't make it in the attack." First Lt. Ed Salau, 35, of the 30th Infantry, originally from North Jersey, was streaking across the water on his single ski. "Hey, who needs two skis?" Ed cracked. "Today, it was just so good to feel the wind in my face." The good lieutenant lost his left leg in November 2004 outside Tikrit. "The men behind me and in front of me got the bastards that did it, he said." Everywhere you looked, it was the same - young men missing arms and legs yet limping and laughing with their families. The event was put together by the Wounded Warriors, organized by former Deputy Fire Chief Flip Mullin, aided by retired police Detective Don Hart along with dozens of cops and firemen. Yesterday, 36 Wounded Warriors and their families were offered lessons in waterskiing, scuba diving, sailing, wave running and fishing. One of the more colorful volunteers in the Wounded Warriors is Firefighter Mike Moran, who lost his FDNY brother John Moran on 9/11. It was Mike who caused howls of laughter when he once delivered a message to Osama bin Laden from the stage of Madison Square Garden: "If you want to come and get me, my name is Mike Moran. I'm from the Rockaways, and you can kiss my royal Irish ***." My feeling precisely.
New York City, which seldom pauses, stopped in its tracks yesterday to turn, stand and salute a group of wounded American soldiers. A convoy of more than 30 vehicles, transporting veterans recently injured in combat, was greeted by saluting police, waving firefighters and hollering civilians across Staten Island and eastward. The motorcade that halted traffic on the Staten Island Expressway and the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens was escorted by vintage vehicles, low-flying NYPD helicopters and a fireboat that shot cascading arcs of red, white and blue water into the harbor. "Everybody is so, so proud of Daddy," said 5-year-old Keegan Jones of San Antonio, Texas, taking in his first-ever view of the city skyline from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Dad, 29-year-old Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones, was one of some 40 wounded soldiers en route to Rockaway, in Queens, where the group will participate through the weekend in the second annual water sports program offered by the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project. Jones was traveling in a convoy in Al Qaim, Iraq, 18 months ago when his vehicle hit a double-stacked anti-tank mine. He lost his legs. "(The veterans) need something to give them a boost, to enable them to believe in themselves again," said Kirk M. Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA, which helps run the weekend's "adaptive sports" offerings: Water-skiing, fishing, sailing and scuba diving. Trained Brooklyn firefighters will help conduct the sports lessons. "This helps with healing the entire person -- physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially," said Lt. Col. Barbara Springer, chief of physical therapy service for Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where many of the veterans were treated. Soldiers joined by their families and scores of police officers and firefighters met yesterday afternoon on the eastbound, Island side of the Goethals Bridge, where many of the day's heroes climbed aboard vintage fire trucks provided by the Fire Family Transport Foundation. The convoy was greeted at each of the Island's expressway overpasses by firefighters and police officers who awaited them in salute. Hundreds of residents lined the streets of Breezy Point and Rockaway Park, Queens. Toting homemade signs ("Thank you brave soldiers!") and waving American flags, they cheered, threw confetti, spun pinwheels and blew bubbles that soared dream-like through what could have passed for a Norman Rockwell magazine cover. At the end of the convoy, the FDNY Bagpipe and Drum Corps played the national anthem and "You're a Grand Old Flag." "It's an honor to be here to show how much we appreciate what the troops have done for us, lost for us," said Firefighter Patrick Degen of Westerleigh, who's assigned to Ladder Co. 159 in Flatbush. "We're 100 percent behind them. We won't forget them." For Vietnam veteran David Rosenzweig, the Fire Department's chief dispatcher on Staten Island who drove his own restored 1956 engine on the convoy, the day's emotions were mixed. While the overwhelming welcome was moving, Rosenzweig mourned the veterans' losses: "They're kids and they're really beat up," he observed. "You really see what the war has done to the younger generation." But yesterday's pageantry was about the warriors, not the war. "It felt good," said Jones, who helps fellow amputees adjust through the Wounded Warrior Project. "You don't have to be behind the government, just the men and women who are out there."
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Thread: Wounded Warriors
07-08-2006, 10:22 PM #1
Wounded Warriors..NEVER FORGET
Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 07-08-2006 at 10:51 PM.ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
LT. John Ginley Engine 40
FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40
"If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
07-09-2006, 10:04 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
I am thankful for your posts. Your effort to bring such important news to the firehouse is greatly appreciated. I am grateful I can come on here and read the news. Had it not been for most of your posts I would not be informed of such important information and daily news that happens in New York. Thank you once again.
I may live in and love the South but I was born in New York, along with most of my family.
I looked forward to your posts.
07-10-2006, 08:40 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Great Story! A few months ago I was asked to escort one of my co-workers to Walter Reed (he had some surgery that ... anyhow) and I saw some of the folks who have come home from Iraq. Although I didnt have the time to do do more than to give a nod of acknowledgement to most or a short greeting on the elevator, it was a most humbling experience none the less.
07-10-2006, 08:50 AM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
Another typical example of why no matter what the city and political hacks try to do to the fellas, the FDNY continues to be a group of top notch brothers.Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.
07-17-2006, 02:03 AM #5AJ, MICP, FireMedic
This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.
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