New York Governor Paterson Honors Fallen Firefighters


Albany, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - New YorkGovernor David A. Paterson  joined State officials, firefighters and their families from across the State to honor 10 New York heroes who risked their lives for the safety of their fellow citizens. The ten men were honored during an annual ceremony to recognize firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Their names were inscribed on the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall in Albany.

"Today we honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep our communities safe. This memorial serves as a permanent reminder of those heroes who continually risk their lives to safeguard their communities across New York State," said Governor Paterson. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to express our condolences to the families of these brave men. Their service will never be forgotten."

U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said: "Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day, and we owe them a deep debt of gratitude and thanks for their dedication and commitment. These are our heroes, they are the men and women who run towards danger without a second thought, and who have sacrificed their safety and well being to keep us safe. As we gather here to reflect on the bravery of those who gave their lives to protect us, let us also not forget the sacrifice of the friends and families they have left behind. Our thoughts and prayers are with them today and every day."

At this year's ceremony the following ten firefighters were honored:

Lieutenant John H. Martinson, New York City Fire Department

Firefighter Robert Beddia, New York City Fire Department
Lieutenant Joseph P. Graffagnino, New York City Fire Department
Deputy Chief Joseph E. Piazzi, Briarcliff Manor Fire Department
Firefighter Daniel F. Pujdak, New York City Fire Department
Firefighter Ronald W. Thomas, Wellsville Volunteer Fire Department

Firefighter Walter F. Bell, Canton Fire Department

Firefighter James R. Cameron, Canton Fire Department

Firefighter Felix A. D'Avignon, Mechanicville Fire Department

Firefighter Joseph E. Henehan, Binghamton Fire Department

The 10 firefighters being added to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall brings the total to 2,336. The Memorial Wall, officially dedicated on October 6, 1998, is located on the Empire State Plaza. Standing in front of the Wall is a bronze sculpture that depicts two firefighters carrying an injured colleague.

Governor Paterson declared October 5-11, Fire Prevention Week and October 7th Firefighter Appreciation Day in New York State. This year's Fire Prevention Week theme is Prevent Home Fires.

For the first time, since the inception of this memorial, Governor Paterson has directed that flags on the State Capitol complex be flown at half-staff in honor and tribute to New York State's fallen firefighters.

The following statements were provided in honor of New York State's fallen firefighters:

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said: "It is important that we recognize and remember our fallen firefighters who provided the ultimate public service and sacrifice. As fellow New Yorkers, we owe a great deal of gratitude for the sacrifices these men and women have made to keep the rest of us safe. I extend my full support to the families of those who gave their lives in order to serve their community."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: "The New York State Assembly joins all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of our fallen firefighters. The courage and skill of these individuals will never be forgotten or taken for granted. New York is honored to recognize these remarkable heroes who gave their lives to protect us. The Fallen Firefighters Memorial is a lasting reminder of the cost and of the sacrifice required to protect our communities and our way of life."

Senator Hugh T. Farley said: "It is important to pause in our daily lives to honor and remember those firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting the public. The Fallen Firefighters Memorial reminds us of the daily hazards faced by all firefighters, and of their dedication and heroism in the face of such danger. We express our condolences to the families, and pay our deepest respect to these firefighters for their service to the community."

Assemblyman Tim Gordon said: "As a community, we throughout New York State gather at this hallowed place to honor those who answered their final call in the act of protecting us. Their lives shine as an example of the very best New York has to offer."

President of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs William Owen said: "Each year we gather here to remember those we have lost, who gave their all to their community to protect the lives and property of their neighbors. The best legacy we can leave to each of these heroic individuals is to redouble our efforts to ensure that tomorrows firefighter does not met the same fate."

Thomas J. Cuff, Jr., President of the Fireman's Association of the State of New York (FASNY), said: "Our Association is very proud to come to this beautiful and inspiring place with its sad monument portraying firefighters aiding one of their own. We are saddened by the loss, which is our loss, and in memorializing them at this ceremony we hope for a day when we won't be adding any new names to this sacred wall of honor."

Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez said: "The Fallen Firefighter Memorial eloquently reminds us that New York State firefighters risk their lives every day to defend people they are likely never to have met. Today, we bear witness to this selfless dedication. These courageous New Yorkers fell in the line of duty and gave their lives for the lives of others. They exemplify the spirit of community."

State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner John Egan said: "Today, we gather to offer our profound respect to the firefighters of New York State who have offered their lives in service of others. OGS is honored to provide stewardship of this and 14 other memorials that stand as a tribute to valiant New Yorkers."

State Fire Administrator Floyd Madison said: "The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial is meant to remember, honor and memorialize those who have made the supreme sacrifice to protect the citizens of this state. It is our intention and purpose that their heroic actions never be forgotten."

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