Firefighter James “Jimmy” Lanza devoted his life of service to his country and community for over 50 years. He served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and was a member of a crew of flying AWACs. After his military service, Jimmy served as a FDNY firefighter for 28 years with Engine 53/Ladder 43 in East Harlem, as part of “El Barrio’s Bravest.” During his tenure with the FDNY, Jimmy spent hundreds of hours at the World Trade Center with his fellow FDNY comrades during the search and recovery mission.
He traveled with members of the FDNY to New Orleans to assist in the rescue, search, and recovery mission in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He served on the board of the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation and devoted a lot of time to charities such as Wounded Warriors. Jimmy traveled on multiple occasions to D.C. to visit veterans in military hospitals and assisted in many sponsored events for Wounded Warriors and their families. He volunteered with the Red Cross and was certified in many areas to participate in Red Cross activities when devastations occurred within the country. Jimmy was known as the “Overbearing Good Samaritan” because he helped everyone, everywhere. His family believed Jimmy was truly a gift from God. It was an honor to have him in the family. When not in service to others, he was an avid skier and scuba diver. Jimmy succumbed to 9/11-related brain cancer on April 6, 2017.
Jimmy, a lifetime Woodside, Queens resident, was president of the Boulevard Gardens Co-Op for over 15 years. In this capacity, he reached out to the local police precinct, the local community board, and NYC Co-Op Board to voice concerns and initiate recommendations to improve his community. As the longest standing president of his co-op, Jimmy was instrumental in the fight to bring fair assessment of property values of co-ops in NYC. At the end of his tenure, the co-op had greatly improved their financial condition, and Jimmy introduced many enhancements to improve the safety and daily lives of his co-op’s residents.
A lifetime member of the American Legion, Jimmy served as commander of Post 1836 in Boulevard Gardens. He helped to bring recognition of the service of veterans to the community and visited many schools around Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
James “Jimmy” Lanza’s devotion to his community, his city, and his country is beyond reproach, and he is commended for his lifetime efforts. His contributions are in keeping with the highest tradition of service to the country and reflect great credit upon himself, his community, his city and his country.