How You Can Help Build the Library on the USS New York

Recently, I was contacted by FireRescue contributor Freddie LaFemina of FDNY, about an important project the FDNY is involved in: helping create a library on the newly commissioned USS New York.

That may sound like a strange project for a fire department, but it actually makes perfect sense. Many of you probably know that the USS New York was fashioned from steel from the World Trade Center, so FDNY firefighters have a close connection to the ship. Since we’d just run an article on the ship and the Tribute WTC exhibition about it, Chief LaFemina’s email certainly caught my attention.

The efforts to build the library are being driven by John Churcher, a native New Yorker from a family of NYPD police officers. John’s neighborhood in Suffern, New York, suffered losses in both attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001, and he lost a good friend on 9/11: FDNY Lt. John Ginley of Engine 40. “I have found a sense of profound reward in giving back to those who serve and protect us on a daily basis, and hopefully the list of guys I've reached out to can speak to that,” John says.

John attended the commissioning of the USS New York and was struck with how young the sailors and officers were who would be serving on the ship. “Most of these individuals were adolescents at the time of 9/11, and did not have a full understanding of the magnitude and historical impact this event had, on not only the country, but also the many New Yorkers that perished, as well as those who lived and continue to live through this tragedy,” John says.

As a result, John offered to build and donate a section of the library on the ship titled "New York.” This section will include books, DVDs and documentaries on the FDNY, NYPD, 9/11 and New York in general. “We will also be including books about the Navy, Marines and SEALS written by former Navy veterans like Roger Staubach, LTC Oliver North, Senators John McCain and John Kerry, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr., Ross Perot and Montel Williams,” John says. “Our goal is to provide a more personal library that serves as both a comprehensive and compelling resource as well as a living memorial to those lost on 9/11.”

So here’s where the FDNY—and you—come in. The collection is being coordinated by FDNY Rescue 1, and they are in need of donations to help build the library. “The majority of the 700 books and DVDs we will be purchasing ourselves,” John says, “and we need help to get this done. Any support is greatly appreciated.”

Checks should be made payable to USSNY library/FDNY Rescue 1.
Mail checks to:
USS New York Library Fund
FDNY Rescue Unit 1
c/o Lt. Tony Tarabocchia
530 W. 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

For more information or any questions:
John Churcher
31 Starling Way
Leominster, MA 01453
H 978-537-3161
C 617-680-4350

Lee Ielpi FDNY (Ret)
212/422-3520 x114

LCDR Laura Bender, USS New York

Lt. Tony Tarabocchia
FDNY Rescue 1

Shannon Pieper is managing editor for FireRescue magazine.

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