When the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001, 343 firefighters with the New York City Fire Department sacrificed their lives while saving other people. Almost two decades after the terrorist attacks, their children are blossoming into a new generation of the Bravest.
Dozens of legacy firefighters have signed on since 2001, but The FDNY academy’s class of 2019 will graduate in two weeks. The legacy class includes 13 members (12 men, and 1 woman), among them some whose fathers died during the attacks and others that died after due to illnesses they contracted from their recovery work at ground zero.
“Bravery runs in these extraordinary families who have sacrificed so much for our city. I’m proud of the commitment these probies have already demonstrated to the department and look forward to celebrating with them at their graduation,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told the NY Post.
The class also includes some siblings, two sons of a fallen hero and even a son and daughter of a firefighter, who all want to honor their beloved fathers.
In 2015, Brendan Stackpole (pictured above on the right) followed his father Capt. Timothy Stackpole’s lead, according to InspireMore.
“This has been a dream of mine since before he passed. I want to carry on the tradition,” Bendan Stackpole said.
Matthew Asaro (pictured above on the left), 30, was in the same class as Brendan and joined the force after his older brother Carl, 31, did. This year, his mother, Heloiza Asaro, is also “very proud” of his youngest siblings Marc, 25, and Rebecca, 27, who are in the class of 2019.
“They wanted to honor their father, to help people like he did. Even if he hadn’t died, they would have become firefighters. Since they were little kids, the fireman was Santa Claus. The fireman organized the picnics,” Heloiza Asaro said.
Carl Asaro (L) and his son Marc Asaro.
Matthew Jovic is another legacy. He was just a baby when his father Anthony Jovic died. He grew up without his father and now is eager to begin his firefighting career after graduation.
“When he got in, I got real emotional. It was always about joining the FDNY,” James Foti, 22, said about his brother Robert, who just turned 27, joining FDNY in the footsteps of their father, Robert Joseph Foti of Ladder Co. 7. “There are no negatives. We know the risks. We always liked helping people.”
James, who was 4 years old when their dad died, has a landscaping business in Long Island but plans to take the next FDNY entrance exam in four years.
“I think it’s a great tribute to their dads. It’s quite inspirational to hear that they’re following in their fathers’ footsteps,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.