Phil Burns has released another wonderful FDNY book, this one title The Last True Hero. Its available now at http://www.fire-police-ems.com/books/bl3510.shtml.
Here’s one of the many wonderful stories in the book:
Only the Good Die Young (Phil Burns)
One of the best guys I ever met was a firefighter in Engine 280 named Jimmy Schiotis. He came on the job on October 16, 1968 and all the guys in Engine 280 and Ladder 132 took an immediate liking to this soft-spoken young family man who became an excellent fireman very quickly.
Jimmy was one of those guys everyone liked, and whenever you saw him, you couldn’t help but smile.
You can imagine how devastated we all were when we found out that Jimmy had leukemia. He was receiving treatment and our thoughts and prayers were with him.
After several months, Jimmy’s leukemia went into remission and we all were guardedly optimistic. After about two months, Jimmy was once again admitted to the hospital because the leukemia came back with a vengeance. Once again, our spirits plummeted.
About the same time Jimmy went back into the hospital, at a smoky fire in downtown Manhattan, a probationary firefighter named Wylie ran out of air, removed his mask face piece and was overcome by a severe smoke condition. The young firefighter was taken to the burn center in a coma and was placed on a respirator.
On January 2,1995, Jimmy Schiotis lost his long battle with the dreaded cancer, leukemia. Jimmy was just short of fifty years old.
When Jimmy died, his wife Marion was at his side with his two daughters, Stacie and Katie, seventeen and ten, and his two sons, Mike and Chris, fifteen and thirteen. The two boys are now New York City firefighters. We all paid our respects to Jimmy and his family both nights at his wake and we all attended his funeral Mass on the following morning.
As we sat down after Communion, all the FDNY beepers started going off throughout the church. I thought to myself that another brave firefighter had just lost his battle. I turned to the firefighter next to me and said,”The probie died.”
I attended the wake and funeral for Firefighter Wylie and met his parents. They were probably in their early forties and they had lost their only child.
Many fire department members assured them that they would always be part of the FDNY family. I have noticed through the years that this is very comforting to these grieving families, because they all know that the loyalty of New York firefighters to the families of their fallen comrades is second to none.
Much like Phil’s previous books Laughter, Tears and Muffled Drums and …Bringing Everybody Home this book is a must read for any firefighter of fan of FDNY.