My husband‚ Firefighter Tom Gardner‚ was a 17-year member of the FDNY. He worked for 13 years in Harlem in Engine 59/Ladder 30. Then he transferred to HazMat 1 in Maspeth‚ New York. He had a B.A. in Biology and Education and planned to teach high school science when he retired from the fire department. Over the past few years he taught about hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction to various law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. He was a Master Instructor for the IAFF and Louisiana State University. He also taught a course in HazMat at the Fire Science Program of New Jersey City University. He developed a web course at NJCU‚ which was one of the first of its kind in the country.
Besides being a successful career man‚ he also was a loving husband to Liz and a father of two children‚ Amy Rose and Christopher. He loved nature and the outdoors and always taught his family about the values of the earth and why we should take care of the environment.
He had a real appreciation for animals. In the past‚ he volunteered at the Bronx Zoo and the Queens Hall of Science. When he was just 21‚ he traveled with the Audubon Society to Africa because of his love of animals and wildlife. His favorite thing was traveling and seeing new and exciting things. We have many fond memories of our family camping trips and excursions all over the U.S.
He had a thirst for knowledge and read profusely on all different topics. He was searching for inner peace and the meaning of life. He also had a humorous side and had a local radio show once a week where he and his comedian friend would entertain anyone who would listen. He wrote jokes and even sold a few to Joan Rivers‚ Phyllis Diller‚ and Henny Youngman.
His wit and bright smile will always be missed by all who knew him. He truly was a unique person with a lot to offer and he will never be replaced. I hope he has found peace and that he’s watching over us all.