Story and Photos by Ron Jeffers.-
The Jersey City Fire Department remembers its fallen heroes. “We never forget,” said Chief of Department Steven J. Mc Gill. On Wednesday afternoon, firefighters, family members and friends gathered at Fire Headquarters, on Marin Boulevard, for a memorial.
The lobby of Fire Headquarters has several plaques honoring those that have served. This year, several names were added to “The Light of Eternal Bravery” plaque for their supreme sacrifice. A plaque honoring volunteer firefighters that died-in-the-line-of-duty, before the career department was established, was also unveiled.
Battalion Chief Glenn Youncofski told the assembly that he was honored to be selected to conduct the ceremony. Father James Pagnotta offered the invocation and closing prayer. Chief Mc Gill welcomed all that were able to attend.
As the names of the hero’s were mentioned, a bell rang, and a member of the family removed the tape covering their loved one’s name on the plaque. Several names were also uncovered after research that were not listed, and that was corrected, as their names were also added.
Those honored were: Hoseman Michael Feenan, Engine Co. 1, Last Call 1875; Hoseman Henry Eckel, Engine Co. 22, Last Call 1970; Captain Gregory Barnas, Ladder Co. 6, Last Call 2014; Captain Mark Lee, Engine Co. 10, Last call 2014; Firefighter James Woods, Engine Co. 14, Last call 2014.
Volunteer fireman that were remembered were: Forman Thomas Sweet, Americus H&L Co. 2, Last call 1854; Fireman Joseph Alexander, Empire H&L Co. 1, Last Call 1854; Fireman Edward Flannery, Hercules Engine Co. 3, Last Call 1870.
The late Ira Rubin, who was a fire dispatcher, historian and Gong Club member, was also honored. His Last Call was March 3, 2014. Father Pagnotta had special words for his friend who loved the FDJC and its history. Rubin spent many hours researching the department’s history and locating the names of those who died-in-the-line-of-duty. Pagnotta said Ira is looking down, with his cigar, proud that the department located the names of additional fallen members so that they could be honored, today.