2002-01-12 / Front Page

Michigan Firefighters Honor The Big House

By Gary G. Toms

Michigan Firefighters Honor " The Big House"

On January 3, a delegation of firefighters and officials from Michigan traveled to FDNY Engine 264/Engine 328/Ladder 134, in Far Rockaway, to present a glass sculpture of the now famous image of three New York City firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11 attack. The station, also known as "The Big House", also received a second sculpture of angels lifting a firefighter toward the sky.

Many FDNY members from other area stationhouses turned out to support their Far Rockaway comrades at "The Big House."

Anthony Mauro, a long-time member of the FDNY, offered much praise for the efforts of his firefighting brothers from Michigan.

"To travel all the way to New York to show their support means a lot to us, to the department and to this city. The sculptures are beautiful pieces of work. What the artist has done is simply amazing."

The Michigan firefighters hail from the Romeo-Bruce Township, and the Mayor of that community, Gary Shookey, and the Chief of the Department, Floyd Shotwell, accompanied them.

Other FDNY representatives who were on hand for the presentation, such as Eddie O'Neil, Billy Quick, Stan Pelosi, and Vinnie Mischke, were also touched by the artwork.

"This is one of the greatest pieces of art that I have ever seen. The fact that it is in tribute to our brotherhood, and to those who died, is what really makes it special," said Quick.

Michigan artist Bob Landry, who created the works, described the process as painstaking and hazardous.

"It was very difficult working on the pieces because I made them from glass. I nearly cut off one of my fingers while working on it, and I refused to go to the hospital because I just had to complete it. The doctors looked at me as though I was crazy when I finally did go to the hospital. What can I say? I had to finish it. This was a labor of love from me to you guys."

Mayor Gary Shookey addressed members of the Far Rockaway stationhouse and lauded them for their heroism.

"On behalf of the state of Michigan, and Romeo-Bruce Township specifically, we honor you for your courage in the face of adversity. We will never forget September 11, or those who willingly gave their lives in the line of duty."

The two images are now proudly being displayed at the Far Rockaway firehouse.

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