Odds are that no matter who you support for President, the lunacy of the election is like humidity in the summertime-its everywhere and not particularly comfortable. No matter how you dress-it is still there. No matter what kind of day you are having-it is still there. While the future of our nations leadership is soon to be decided, the political environment is really humid out there and uncomfortable. Hopefully the humidity will let up and even then-about half of us will still not be comfortable-so we shall see what happens with the Fall of 2016 lunacy.
From a reality sense, when we listen to the rhetoric we, or at least I, am forced to refocus on reality. For example, we-a number of lifelong friends and I, are deeply saddened by a dear friend and brother firefighter who is gravely ill down in Florida. He is a relatively young man who has been dealt a very rough hand-it’s only a matter of time. He is one of those that is a firefighter first-always has been, always will be-he completely and totally loves the job, the genuine brotherhood and all that comes with it. Now he’s on a vent. I personally don’t recall being this angry-but that’s reality.
On the subject of reality, recently, two more Firefighters have died from 9/11 illness…the 9/11 murderers continue to take lives everyday. Many are gone-many are suffering-suffering horribly for doing their jobs.
One is a beloved Captain on the FDNY- Captain Vinny Ungaro. Proud member of the FDNY for over 30 years, he was Captain of Engine Company 235, Lieutenant of Squad 288 and Ladder 8 and a Firefighter in Engine Company 214 and Ladder 111…he died in the Line of Duty from leukemia. He was one of those many men and women -very sick men and women – who you saw on the news, down in Washington DC, urging the Federally elected to support the Zadroga funding. He was a Dad, a Grandfather, a son of an FDNY retired officer-and a husband who gave his life operating at Ground Zero-and the days and months following. .
Also lost recently is a Firefighter who was detailed as a part of mutual aid to FDNY, on 9/11 right from the onset. Firefighter Kenneth Bleck, President of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, which borders Queens/NYC, died in the Line of Duty 2 weeks ago after an 8 year battle with esophageal cancer. Bleck led two Vigilant fire ambulances to Ground Zero to operate. Bleck was returned to ground zero to further serve as an EMT and dig through the pile of debris. Of so many, one person he had on his mind among the missing was the late Jon Ielpi, an FDNY Firefighter from Squad 288-and Chief with the Vigilant volunteer company. In addition to his wife, Bleck is survived by two daughters, Jamie and Carrie, and three grandchildren.
This Sunday (October 9) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, at the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Services, the names of 24 FDNY firefighters killed in the Line of Duty by cancer linked to their work at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 will be added to the Memorial along with all those who also died in the Line of Duty in 2015. We hope to see you there-it is a public event and well worth your time. This is the first time that occupational cancer-specific to 9/11-has been recognized as a Line of Duty death. Here are more details about this weekend: http://www.firehero.org/2016/09/14/memorial-weekend/
So while it is still very politically humid out there, and the forecast is hazy, hot and humid for the upcoming weeks-remind your friends what Firefighters already know-don’t ever forget the reality-no matter what the weather. The reality of those men and women who are suffering, and those who have given their lives in the Line of Duty due to the attacks on 9/11, and all those Firefighters who have given their lives in the Line of Duty, especially in 2015.
Hope to see you in Emmitsburg this weekend.