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Benefit Remembers First FF Killed on 9/11

Benefit Remembers First FF Killed on 9/11

Source: Flikr

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

September 07, 2010

NEW YORK CITY – He was the first firefighter killed on 9/11.

And Danny Suhr of FDNY Engine Co. 216 will be remembered in his old Brooklyn neighborhood of Marine Park this Sept. 11.

The men of 216 were some of the first responders to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and were setting up near the south tower when a body spiraling from an upper floor hit and killed Danny Suhr, who had been a firefighter since 1983.

Pudgy Walsh, a much-decorated retired firefighter and legendary Brooklyn Mariners football coach, for whom Suhr played middle linebacker for 10 seasons, delivered one of the eulogies at St. Edmund’s Church in Brooklyn.

This Sept. 11 – Saturday – the Mariners will play the Central-Penn Piranha football team in Kings Bay Field on Avenue X, where the $10 admission will all go to the FF Danny Suhr Scholarship Fund.

“I wasn’t surprised that Danny was the first killed that terrible day,” says Walsh now.

“Danny’s father was a firefighter. He has a brother who was a firefighter. A sister who was a cop. We’re talking about a very tough, very brave, very dedicated family here.”

In his eulogy, Walsh talked about what a wonderful man Danny Suhr was, on and off the job, on and off the field.

“Danny was one of the best human beings I’ve met in my time on this earth,” Walsh says. “The most complete player I coached in 54 years of coaching the Mariners. He was a great friend. A great firefighter. A devoted husband, a loving father. Danny Suhr was a huge loss to this city.”

Walsh says that he has one son and one daughter of his own. “But Danny was like a second son to me,” he says. "The church was packed with countless friends, family, and his devastated wife, Nancy, and their daughter, Brianna, then 2. When the scholarship fund was set up, it was a way to keep Danny’s spirit alive.

“This year, the Mariners are 5-1, and we happen to be playing the toughest team in the division on Sept. 11. We’re gonna need the kind of brains and guts Danny Suhr had to win. And so it made perfect sense to me and Eddie McIlraith, my silent partner in the Mariners, to dedicate this game to Danny Suhr and donate all profits to the scholarship in his name.”

That’s how it’s done in Brooklyn.

You don’t retreat into a black cave of grief. Instead, you build a shimmering new tower, a tower of goodwill to honor one of the best men the city makes. You build it by helping a kid who needs a boost onto the ladder of education, a ladder named for Danny Suhr, and you help that kid climb from the streets of Brooklyn into a life of hope and promise.