Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 118 names will be added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial at the Empire State Plaza to honor the memory and heroism of brave men and women who risked their lives to protect the citizens of New York. Of the 118 New Yorkers added to the Memorial today, 114 firefighters suffered injuries and illnesses as a result of their recovery efforts following the tragic events on September 11, 2001 in New York City.
"The courageous men and women who sacrificed their life to protect the people of this state will be remembered forever," Governor Cuomo said. "With the addition of 118 New Yorkers to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial, we express gratitude to the families and loved ones of these brave men and women, and honor their legacy for generations to come."
"The Fallen Firefighters Memorial honors the legacy of men and women who faced unthinkable danger and met that with incredible courage," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This year, we not only add four names to this monument, but we are also adding the names of 114 firefighters who were taken by the injuries and illnesses that arose in the aftermath of 9/11. Each of their stories is a testament to the heroism that is part of everyday life for those who answer the call and put on their uniform."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials recognized the 118 courageous individuals at the 20th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony in Albany today as part of Firefighter Appreciation Day and Fire Prevention Week. The individuals added to the wall this year can be found online here.
With the addition of these heroes, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial now honors 2,524 individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Fallen Firefighters Memorial, dedicated in 1998, honors the memory and valor of New York's fallen firefighters at the memorial during Fire Prevention Week each year. The memorial pays tribute to the more than 100,000 New York State firefighters who put their lives on the line every day.
At today's ceremony, the Governor issued two proclamations to honor the state's career and volunteer firefighters, marking Tuesday, October 10 as Firefighter Appreciation Day and the week of October 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week.
In 2016, fire departments statewide responded to approximately 1,514,421 incidents - about 4,149 incidents each day, 173 incidents per hour, and approximately 2.88 incidents every minute.
"The individuals we honor today demonstrate the true meaning of courage and intestinal fortitude in the face of adversity," said New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino Sr. said, "We come together as New Yorkers today to honor their memories and give thanks for their devotion to duty. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten."
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, "On this solemn day, we gather in remembrance and recognition of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow New Yorkers. As we honor their legacies, we also grieve with the family and friends left behind. Each name inscribed on this wall - all 2,524 of them - represents the heroism of those who lost their lives trying to help others. They represent the best of New York and their courage will not be forgotten."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Today and every day, we honor the many brave firefighters who gave their lives serving their communities. Their selflessness has saved countless lives and allows each of us to rest easier knowing they are there for us and our loved ones in the face of danger. Many of the individuals honored today served not only their communities, but also our nation on one of its darkest days and made the ultimate sacrifice for their courage. Although we could never possibly repay them, we will continue to honor their memory and carry on their legacy."
Senate IDC Leader Jeffrey Klein said, "We will always remember the bravery and dedication of those who cared so deeply for New Yorkers that they sacrificed their lives. The 20th Annual New York State Firefighters' Memorial pays tribute to our bravest who died in the line of duty and is a reminder of the heroics and service of our first responders."
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "New York's firefighters are true heroes. As others run out of burning buildings, they rush in to save lives, protect property and help their fellow New Yorkers. Those firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice must be honored and remembered for their bravery and dedication. We owe a tremendous debt to all of our state's firefighters; they truly are New York's bravest."
New York State Fire Administrator Francis "Skip" Nerney said, "Each October, we gather at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany to offer gratitude to all of New York's firefighters who risk their lives daily to protect our communities. On behalf of the men and women of the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, I offer support and prayers to our fellow firefighters, friends and families of this year's honorees, as well as those from past years."
John P. Sroka, President, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs said, "Today, we gather at the Fallen Firefighters' Memorial to remember our fallen brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice - their lives. It is our hope that today's tribute will somehow offer consolation and comfort to not only their loved ones, but also their fire service family. Their sacrifice and dedication should serve as a glowing example for all of us."
Kenneth Pienkowski, President of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York said, "Today we pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the performance of duty, a sad reminder of the dangers that firefighters face on a daily basis in an ever changing world. To the families of those we have lost, we will never forget your loved ones' sacrifice. Know that their memory will carry on each and every day as their fellow firefighters come to the aid of New Yorkers in need."
Samuel Fresina, President of the NYS Professional Fire Fighters Association said, "On behalf of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association, we honor the memories of our fallen brothers and sisters who lost their lives in service to all New Yorkers. Their bravery and sacrifice in the line of duty will never be forgotten. They will live on forever in our hearts."