Written by Christy Hinko, Owen Magee, and Rich Santer Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00
On July 19, a group of firefighters from Levittown Fire Company, Ladder One, led by Chief Charles Giudice traveled into the city to take possession of an I-beam, nearly 1,800 pounds, donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to be displayed at the monument previously erected in his honor at fire headquarters on Gardiners Avenue in Levittown.
Members of Ladder One and other volunteers, led by Captain Thomas Lynch had the beam cut in half, laid the foundation and erected the steel beams to resemble the two towers.
The late Chief Kerwin’s sons, Keith and Ryan, unveiled the steel for all to see at the finale of the Sunday, Sept. 11 ceremonies. At night, viewed from the right angle, the steel resembles the towers illuminated. Ladder One Lieutenant Patrick Winberry led the evening’s program. The Kerwin family, wife Dianne, daughter Colleen, sons Keith and Ryan (a member of Ladder One), were surrounded by friends, residents and members of the Levittown Fire Department in a beautiful ceremony.
Honoring the life and legacy of Ronald Kerwin, many friends and family shared memories, including Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, Joel Bearman, Ex Chief and current Commissioner John Rottkamp (Ex Chief Rottkamp, was 1st Deputy Chief to Ron Kerwin), Ex-Capt. Co. 1 Jeff Waterman who was Captain during the construction of the memorial, Honorary member and friend David Fisk, Captain Thomas Lynch, Ladder One, Chief of Department, Charles Giudice and a reading by Pastor Mac and Glen Pressler, Dianne Kerwin’s brother.
Just minutes before the fire department’s ceremonies, the Levittown American Legion Post 1711 held their ceremonies. A brief, solemn service was held at Veterans Park at Shelter Lane in honor of the Levittown community members who lost their lives. About 200 community members, veterans, town officials, and many students from the Levittown schools gathered at the park for prayers and a traditional ceremony led by the Legion’s color guard and rifle salute.
The East Meadow and Levittown Kiwanis family clubs ranging from K-Kids to Kiwanis came together on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 11 to honor the memory of the victims of that terrible day.
A memorial gong ringing ceremony led by Circle K Distinguished Immediate Past Governor Rickie Santer had pairs of Kiwanis leaders remember each of the 10 groups of victims of terrorism. Those remembered included the passengers on each flight and those inside the Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, the firefighters, the police officers, the other first responders who perished while working at Ground Zero, other innocent victims of terrorist attacks around the world, and the servicemen and servicewomen who have lost their lives in the War on Terror.
Following the ceremony, the group engaged in a service project creating Pillow Hugs for injured servicemen and servicewomen at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C. and for local firefighters who may be treated for injuries in the line of duty. Pillow Hugs are pillowcases decorated with messages of thanks, gratitude or inspiration. Some of the messages sent to the soldiers and firefighters by the Kiwanis-family young people included: “I Sleep Safely Because of You,” “Thank You for Your Service,” “A Hug for a Hero.”
Over 100 pillowcases were decorated and will be delivered to Walter Reed by a group of Vietnam Vets that makes regular visits to the National Military Medical Center.
Thanks to the generosity of the East Meadow and Levittown Kiwanis Clubs who paid for the pillow cases and other supplies, the $155 donated at the door will be sent to Tuesday’s Children, a Long Island-based nonprofit organization that provides support and services to the children of September 11th victims.
Editor’s Note: Friends of the late Barry McKeon, 47, would like to acknowledge him as a former resident of Levittown. McKeon was among those who perished in the tragedies of 9-11. He was a graduate of DAHS (’72), and a graduate of Northside Elementary and Laurel Lane Schools. He served as the Executive Vice President of Fiduciary Trust International at the World Trade Center, residing in Yorktown Heights.