First responders' efforts on 9/11 never forgotten

Upper Greenwood Lake firefighters were at Ground Zero

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  • Getting ready to take supplies to Ground Zero were: Upper Greenwood Lake Firefighter Doug Chapman, Firefighter Don Coyte, Fire Chief George Schmidt, Firefighters John Montelone. Not pictured was Danny Gross. photo provided by john monteleone

  • Upper Greenwood Lake Fire Chief George Schmidt's vehicle is parked next to supplies at Ground Zero. photo provided by john monteleone

  • Firefighter John Monteleone stands with fellow Upper Greenwood Lake first responders prior to the Tunnels to Towers 5K Run & Walk on Sunday, Sept. 24. photo provided

  • New Jersey Firefighter John Monteleone, right, holds a banner depicting fallen firefighter Thomas Foley, during the recent Tunnels to Towers 5K Run & Walk. Photo provided

  • Getting ready to participate in the Tunnels to Towers 5K Run & Walk on Sunday, Sept. 24, are, left to right: Matt Ferreira, Mike Ferreira, Mike Bartilucci, Bob Bartilucci, Candace Sebastian, Rob Silveria and Kevin Ryan. photo provided

By Carol Reif

Five locally connected people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as other victims of the terror attack, were remembered recently at a town-sponsored memorial service.

They were: Jeremy Glick, the Rev. Mychal Judge, TJ Hargrave, Jean C. DePalma and Michael Zinzi.

But they weren't the only ones that dreadful day in New York City when the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell; dozens of West Milford first responders raced to Ground Zero to help out in any way they could.

Among them were the brave folks from the township's Upper Greenwood Lake F.D. Co. 5, as well as the West Milford Fire Department and the Upper Greenwood Lake First Aid Squad.

UGLFD Firefighter John Monteleone, in reflecting on the terror attacks, agreed that, it is important that he and fellow first responders, "always remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001" and that they, too, are never forgotten.

According to Monteleone, the UGLFD under the direction of its president, Larry Tornow, gathered donations from different businesses and residents for supplies needed at Ground Zero.

They collected respirators, water, food, clothing -- "whatever else they needed" -- and loaded supplies into two trucks.

On the team were: Chief George Schmidt, Firefighter Donald Coyte, Firefighter Doug Chapman, Firefighter Danny Gross, and Firefighter Monteleone.

Once at Ground Zero, under the direction of then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani's staff, they distributed the supplies.

They were later awarded citations by the Passaic County Board of Freeholders and also given 911 citations to be worn on their Class A uniforms above their badges.

"It wasn't supposed to happen to us. We're firemen; we're the good guys. We're not supposed to die," Monteleone said of his lost colleagues.

According to published reports, the West Milford Fire Department members who responded to Ground Zero were: Michael Woch, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, USAR TEAM FT1 Scott DeGiralomo, William Dixon, Scott Corter, Robert DeGroat, Tom Steines III, Steve Mann, Kevin Drake, Liam Glinane, Dave LeMay, Frank Tropana, Jim Lindstrom, Ken Kloz, Albert Woch, Kevin Ryan, Keith Van Dunk, Martin Perrone, John Kennedy, Robert Lobbregt, Richard Bathman, Robert Haftek, Keith Everson, Nick DiAmbrosio, Paul Reilly, Michael Laky.

EMS responders to Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001 were:

West Milford First Aid Squad members: Lisa Alber, Jill Brickman, Jack Cronen, Joanne Crouthamel, Sandra Meyers, Tim Ligus, Nancy Smalletz, Ed Steines, Henry Von See, Ted Wolf, Bob Woodier, Jeff Abdallah, Carole Beck, Robin Bordeau, Dina D’Argenio, Don DeVries, Stan Hankinson, Tob Jirouschek, Art Potterton, Dawn Quigley, Joe Smolinski, Cookie Tancredi, Pam Tietz, Mike Turner, Marlon Wilding, Bev Lujbli, Judy Henry.

Upper Greenwood Lake Squad members: Michael Belgie, Sue Bentley, Sandy Carlo, Casey Casbarro, Ellen Danizik, Dennis DeBalfo, Julie DeBalfo, Tim Fedyshyn, Joanne Jordan, Ericka Joy.

All these first responders also received citations from the Passiac County Freeholders.

Monteleone said that every year Co. 5 participates in the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk, an event held to honor FDNY firefighter Stephen Stiller, who lost his life while trying to save others on 9/11.

Stiller ran through the Battery Park tunnel to the Twin Towers while carrying 60 pounds of gear. The event also pays homage to other FDNY firefighters and first responders who perished.

Every year, Monteleone and members and spouses of the UGLFD Co. 5 participate in the event. Some run to retrace Stiller's steps; others, like Monteleone, line the route to lend support and hold banners depicting 9/11 victims.

"It's emotional, very emotional, for all firefighters and everyone. People come up and hug the banners, crying and saying: 'My family. My neighbor. My friend. It's moving," said Monteleone, who held a banner showing FDNY firefighter Thomas Foley this year.

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