Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Commentary: With A Brother's Help Fallen 9/11 Hero's Work Continues

One blessing that I have had from my diverse range of experiences from cop to lawyer to professor has been exposure to heroes who often operate just under the radar of widespread public acclaim. Hero today is a word whose contemporary overuse has almost stripped it of the meaning that it once had. In my formative stages there were various extraordinary mentors that ranged from a POW father who was a WWII medic to an African-American judge and scholar who almost made it to the Supreme Court to a brave Honor Legion police academy instructor. What all these folks had in common was an indefatigable integrity to promote change and protect others from harm without regard to conformity, personal comfort or vanity. In this media obsessed age, often times, its still these little known community heroes who stand between evil and injustice on behalf of the rest of us. 
I write today about one such unusual and exemplary hero, one who like you, I'll never meet but came to know from an intersection of my Staten Island relatives and his. Chuck Margiotta, simply put was one of those old school New Yorkers who was bigger than life--the kind of handsome renaissance guy who is better suited for a Billy Joel or Bruce Springsteen lyric than our little blog posting. Just listing his achievements is a lengthy effort: Graduated Brown with a double major, Ivy League football standout, actor, stuntman, teacher, coach, parish and community leader,  and devoted family man. On 9/11 NYFD Lt. Chuck Margiotta had just completed a 24hr. shift and was safely headed home when after seeing the flames,  turned around, went to the nearest fire house and joined the crew in rescuing people from the World Trade Center. Along with 342 other hero firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers he perished that day serving others. Thanks to another, hero, his brother Mike, Chuck's service to others still continues through various charitable efforts. One major charity event is the Brains, Brawn and Bravery Biker Run next week, Sunday June 7 at 11:15AM at Farrell High School in Staten Island to support scholarships in Chuck's name. You just can't stop the work of true heroes.

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