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Floral Park legion to honor area rescuers lost Sept. 11

The Floral Park American Legion’s sixth community recognition night will honor three Floral Park residents and a resident of the neighboring community who died trying to rescue others on Sept. 11.

The event, scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at the post’s 15 Elizabeth St. headquarters in Floral Park, will recognize Keith Fairben of Floral Park, Firefighter Robert King of Bellerose Terrace, Firefighter Charles Mendez of Floral Park and Lt. Robert Regan of Floral Park. Other members of the Floral Park community also will be recognized.

“Awards will be presented posthumously to the firefighters and paramedic who heroically gave their lives in the line of duty on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center, helping save thousands of other people,” said William Corbett, commander of the post. “These are the first posthumous awards the post has ever given.”

He said the Legion post honors those who have served the community, made a difference and worked to make Floral Park a “better place” to live. The Legion holds the awards ceremony every two or three years and gives out plaques and medals to those being honored.

The post had only honored firefighters and police officers, Corbett said, but the members decided there are other people in the community who were also deserving of recognition.

But, he said, the four men who lost their lives at the Trade Center “gave the ultimate sacrifice — talk about serving humanity.”

More than 300 firefighters died in the vicious attacks on the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11.

Fairben, who also was a lieutenant in the Reliance Engine Company #2 of the Floral Park Volunteer Fire Department, worked for the New York Presbyterian Hospital paramedic unit and was at Ground Zero trying to help the wounded.

King, a father of three, worked with Engine Company #33 at 42 Great Jones St. in Manhattan, and was called to the scene after the planes had struck the towers. He was killed in the collapse.

Mendez, a New York City Firefighter with Ladder #7 at 234 East 29th St. in Manhattan, also rushed to the scene with his company and was killed trying to save the lives of others.

Regan, 48, was one of the six firefighters of Ladder #118/Engine Company #205 who perished saving the guests and employees at the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel. The hotel was one of the structures surrounding the Twin Towers that collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks.

A 16-year veteran of the FDNY, Regan left behind his wife, Donna; a 16-year-old daughter, Caitlin; and a 12-year-old son, Brendan. A memorial service was held last year.

“The Floral Park American Legion was founded in 1919 and promotes good citizenship and patriotism and seeks to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation,” Corbett said.

Other community members and groups being honored are retired New York Firefighter Bob Wisniewski, Colleen Sweeny, Matthew Sweeny, Kim Scanlon, John Donnelly, Mike Saville, Ron Gaglian, Floral Park Police Officer Chris Egan, Steven Lane, members of the Floral Park American Legion Scotty Beetle, Eileen Malone, Rose Quaderer and Clara Ratto, the Floral Park police commissioner, members of the Floral Park Police Benevolent Association, Gebhardts Restaurant, and Stuzmann & Sons Funeral Home.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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