As my last post on the recent trip to New York, I wanted to take some time and tell about one of the highlights of the trip. It was filled full of lots of hard work, emotions, and very little sleep. One of the places that we were able to visit was FDNY E-217. The majority of our trip we had worked along side many of the guys from the 217. Some of the guys were retired, some had promoted out of 217, and we had heard stories of those that were killed on 9/11 from 217.
On Saturday night, we had finished up our work for the week and were back at the Coakley house eating dinner. As we all winded down, we were trying to decide what we wanted to do before returning to the south. Several of us had been invited to Manhattan by one of the FDNY firefighters we had delivered supples to earlier in the day. Also, since we had worked so closely with and had traveled to help the guys from E-217…we naturally wanted to visit the firehouse they work at. After discussing it over dinner, eight out of the eleven of us decided we wanted to see the firehouse.
The firehouse is a three story house located at 940 Dekalb in Brooklynn. As we pulled the van up front and rang the bell, we awaited to be welcomed. I can’t even start to explain how welcoming these guys were. As all eight of us piled in this firehouse at 9 o’clock at night, it seemed like we were arriving for a Sunday dinner. All the guys in the house came out into the bay to welcome us. We were quickly invited back into the kitchen area for some coffee. As we made our way back, we passed by the rig. I noticed that it seemed spotless, and it was a Seagrave (which is what we run at my volunteer department and several here in The Model City).
The memorial to the four guys from E217 who were lost on 9/11 was located just behind the rig in the back of the bay. It was breathtaking…just the sight of the turnout gear and helmets enclosed in the display cases. This memorial was definitly the center piece of the bay, as it should be! The photos don’t do the memorial justice, but I can tell that no detail was spared when it came to buidling it.
After looking around the station, we made small talk with the guys. Several of us explained a little bit about the areas that we work/live in, and asked questions about working at FDNY. The guys who were working passed out some t-shirts, hats, and patches. I left a shirt from our Firefighters Association and a patch with one of the guys. I also passed out one of our NM-Coin’s to each of the guys who showed us around. The guys that work out of this station are great guys. I felt just at home, and think that they would show me the same courtesy if I went back. They made us feel like part of the brotherhood, and the tour of E-217 helped shed a positive light to the trip. The kitchen/day room was filled full of history, and the guys explained some of it around the station. Prior to leaving, we presented the FF Steven Coakley Foundation with a donation from the Kingsport Firefighters Association.