Staten Island, for Tommy, that was home. He was born there, grew up there, went to school there, and then made a career of service to the people and the community of Staten Island.
Tom was a man of conviction to duty. After high school and before entering college, he became a Marine. Following his time in the Marine Corps, he returned to Staten Island to attend the College of Staten Island for post high school studies.
Entering the work world, Tommy started with the City of New York as a conductor on the trains in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Working the subways was serving the community, but he wanted more, so he applied to train as a firefighter. You never saw a happier man than Tommy the day he got the call to enter school to become a firefighter for the City of New York. He told all his family and friends that it was one of the happiest days of his life.
After completing the Randall’s Island training, he joined the Manhattan Engine 5 family of firefighters. He loved his work and loved being one of their cooks. Chili, pasta—he loved playing the part of cook of the day. But Tom wanted to learn more, so he enrolled in Chauffer Training School so he could become a ladder man. While in training, he received the Mr. Congeniality Award for his “effervescence, warmth, and bubbly personality,” contributing to his class #6 in 1987.
After completing his training, he transferred to the Brooklyn Ladder 113/Engine 249 firehouse. He was a first responder on 9/11 and worked at Ground Zero for several months. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Tommy volunteered as one of the NYC’s force to help in New Orleans, where he spent months helping the people there through their devastation.
Besides being a dedicated firefighter, Tommy was a family man. He loved his wife, Debra, and his children. He loved being a coach for his sons’ Little League team. He loved getting out on the golf course, though he would never let the family know his handicap. You scored? He loved jogging, which he did along with his wife. He loved cooking a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for them every year—turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings. Upon retiring, he became a snowbird, spending time at home and in Florida until he became a full-time Florida resident.
He is missed daily by his family and especially his wife, Debra. When you enter her home, so much of Tommy is still there with his firefighting memorabilia and his picture with that warm smile under that great big mustache.