Today’s news:

Whitestone biz donates $100K to 9/11 families

Kinray Inc., the Whitestone pharmaceutical company, presented $100,000 in donations from its 700 employees to the families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at a ceremony on the one-year anniversary attended by workers and borough leaders.

The four checks, each $25,000, went to the families of Fire Lt. Kenneth Phelan of Maspeth, Firefighter Vincent Morello of Middle Village and Police Officers Thomas Langone and Paul Talty, who worked together at Emergency Service Unit 10 based in Flushing. Because the presentation at the Whitestone headquarters occurred just hours after the official Sept. 11 ceremonies at Ground Zero, the families of the four emergency workers were unable to attend and the checks were instead handed over to friends of the families.

The money came from donations by the company’s employees due to the effort of Kinray’s president, Stewart Rahr.

“Every one of our 700 employees had contributed to Kinray’s 9/11 fund,” Rahr said. “We hope that this tangible memorial will make our words as real as our grief is.”

The donation is part of Rahr’s continued interest in emergency workers following last year’s attacks.

Immediately after the destruction of the World Trade Center, Kinray gave medical supplies to workers who were combing the area for victims.

In April, Rahr bought the original print of “Firefighters at Ground Zero, September 11, 2001” for $89,625 at an auction at Christie’s. The photograph, which depicts Firefighters Dan McWilliams, George Johnson and Billy Eisengrein hoisting up an American flag amid the ruins, is perhaps the most famous picture taken on that day. Thomas Franklin of the Record of Bergen County, N.J., shot the image, which sits in the lobby of Kinray.

Kinray is the nation’s largest privately held pharmaceutical distributor, with sales topping $2 billion last year. It is located at 152-35 10th Ave.

At the afternoon ceremony, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall called the donation “an excellent example of corporate responsibility.”

“You make me proud to be the borough president of Queens,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) also thanked Kinray before praising emergency workers.

“I don’t think that there is a person left in this city who looks at a cop or a firefighter or an EMS driver without thinking about that day, and we thank you,” he said.

Friends of the honored firefighters and police officers were called to speak.

“Not only was it an honor to work with them, but it was just an honor to know them,” said Steve Stefanokos, speaking of Langone and Talty, his colleagues at ESU 10.

Stefanokos recalled speaking with Langone and Talty just before they rushed into Tower Two.

“Tommy looked back at me and said, ‘Be safe, bro, I’ll be back in a little while,’ ” Stefanokos said.

Rabbi Marc Gellman, the fire chaplain of Suffolk County, concluded the service by describing Kinray as a family.

“I want to thank you for understanding that privilege is an opportunity for service,” Gellman said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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