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Hicksville Fire Department, Community Remembers 9/11

More than 130 firefighters, 150 residents in attendance at Station 3 ceremony

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Hicksville firefighters, families and residents gathered at the department’s memorial site at Station 3 on West John St. to remember the events of a decade ago and honor department members Ex-Captain/PAPD officer George Howard and Ex-Chief Terry Farrell, FDNY/HFD/DHFD and nine victims who lived in Hicksville at that time or resided here or at one time came from here.

The ceremony chairman, Ex-Chief/Water District Commissioner Karl Schweitzer welcomed all who came to honor the memory of those lost. Brenden McLoughlin sang the National Anthem and a brief address was given by Chief of Department Edward Korona Jr. followed by Ex-Chief / Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners William Thunell. Chief Thunell was Chief of Department during 9/11. He spoke briefly about the departments operations at ground zero right after the towers collapsed and for weeks after.

He said, “Today we offer prayers for the souls of all those innocently killed and for their families who continue to mourn their loss. Today, let us offer prayers for the eternal memory and blessed repose of the souls of Ex-Chief Terry Farrell and Honorary Chief George Howard, and to all the victims of the barbaric attack of Sept. 11 and to those who heroically fell in the line of duty attempting to help so many victims.

“It is through the power and strength of our faith that we can offer words of comfort and strength on this day of remembrance, recognizing the deep pain that surfaces as we mark the passage of 10 years,” said Schweitzer.

New York State State Chaplain and HFD member James Kershow offered an opening prayer. Officers of Citizens Engine 3 (Terry Farrell) and Emergency Co. 5 (George Howard) placed wreaths and HFD Junior Firefighters Andrew Niemczyk and Zach DiFronzo sounded Taps. Bells were struck in honor of Hicksville residents who perished in the attack. Legislator Rose Walker spoke briefly on the contributions both Terry and George gave to the community.

Terry’s family, with the help of firefighters across the country, founded the Terry Farrell Fund, which distributes donated fire apparatus and fire equipment to fire departments in need all over the USA.

George, before his passing, organized the PAPD Emergency Service Unit at Kennedy Airport. In the 1993 attack on the Twin Towers, George, as a PAPD officer, rescued trapped occupants in an elevator at the towers. He also served a soccer coach for area youth.

A closing prayer was offered by Michael D’Antuono, Grand Knight, Joseph Barry Council, Knights of Columbus followed by a processional salute by all members of the Fire Department. Residents and friends each laid a flower at the memorial in honor of those lost on 9/11.

He said, “Let us continue to honor those that have perished and paid the ultimate sacrifice of service. And do not let us forget those serving in the military defending our freedom. When you see a member in uniform, thank them for their commitment, for without their continuing sacrifice we would not be a great country.

“And for those people that helped in the days that followed the Sept. 11 attacks performing rescue and recovery efforts, let us keep them in our prayers as they face many medical challenges and continue to suffer,” closed Schweitzer.