Thanksgiving, Black Sunday, and Sending off a Hero

I took the past weekend off. The entire weekend (actually about 4-5 days) from everything but my family.

I know many of you are waiting to hear what I have to say about Dave Statter’s announcement that he is my father. I assure you my father is a much more dignified man than Dave Statter. My father is my hero and was a great father. I am thankful for him and having been able to spend time with him and most of my extended family in Nashville this past weekend including my little nephew Sebastian.

I did get to finally watch the video this morning that Dave put together. Well done Dave. Apparently counseling isn’t working out as planned. Hillary and I have worked out a 12 step program for you. You will also be appearing in an episode of “Intervention” soon. Good luck.


Thanksgiving was excellent with my family. There is so much to be thankful for. My wife and my children are at the top. I am thankful for our health and well-being.

I also got to do a ton more traveling this year. Willie Wines Jr. and I are thankful for all of the doors opened to us. The people we got to meet and hang out with in NYC, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Wyoming (city), Loveland, Mason, Johns Creek, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Emmitsburg, Prince George’s County, and elsewhere along the way. You guys have been great. Thank you for all you have done to make our trips worth it.

We also got to hang out with Zach Green a bunch. He and his family opened their home to us and welcomed us like part of the family. Thank you.

Billy Goldfeder hooked us up in NYC and then welcomed us in Loveland. We will not be able to repay you, but we would be happy to try.

A special thanks to the crew at the NFFF Memorial Service, you all are the best.

The crew at Fire Rescue Magazine, Go Forward Media, and FireRescue1 have remained great friends and family. Thank you for everything.

There are so many others. I am blessed to have such a network of friends, companions, and peers.

A special thanks to my crew at Roanoke Firehouse #3. Mac, Eric, Dave, Jason, Brad, and Drew have made my life at the firehouse a blast. We have a great time and have become great friends and firefighters together.

Black Sunday

I would like to end this with a message from The Secret List about FDNY Lt. Joey DiBernardo and Black Sunday:

Joey is the FDNY Lieutenant who was found at home last week, he had passed away, at age 40. While Joey had a stellar career as a Volunteer Firefighter (and former Captain with the Hook & Ladder Company of the highly respected Setauket FD in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York) – he was also a very well known and popular FDNY Dispatcher, but the last chapter of his career was what he was so proud of-being a member of the FDNY and especially, Rescue Company 3.

There is the fact that he followed in his Dad’s footsteps. Chief DiBernardo is a highly respected (now retired) FDNY Deputy Chief and Division Commander. He is the kind of Chief whose reputation was no non-sense-and who deeply respected “the potential” of the job….and who understood his deep responsibility for the members operating under his command. Those under his command knew he was strictly business. As it has to be. As he guided his Son.

As his Dad told the media last week: “He (Joey) never fully recovered from 9/11 and since ‘Black Sunday’ – he has been in terrible pain and agony,” said Chief DiBernardo, who served 35 years in the department. “After all these years, he has been in physical pain and the mental pain. His whole life had been the FDNY .”

Joey was one of 6 Firefighters who were forced to jump out of the windows as they were trapped by fire in The Bronx “chapter” of Black Sunday, January 23, 2005. Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, covering Ladder 27 and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27, died after jumping that day. When the fire caught them, they were faced with a horrifying choice. They jumped out a fourth-floor window, knowing that it was really bad. Firefighters Jeffrey Cool, Joseph DiBernardo, Eugene Stolowski, and Cawley were very, very badly hurt at that fire.

Watch these videos:

This video is a media story about Joey DiBernardo. It will show you who he was and what he was made of. It’s worth you watching-it’s a wonderful story (when you see him on video, you’ll understand) involving a horrific event – leading to a tragic and deeply sad ending. It will also allow you to hear from his Father as well as his “Brother” FDNY FF, Jeff Cool, who was also trapped-who will tell you all you need to know about Joey.

The link to the 1st video is here

The second video is the “Readers Digest” version of the fire-that day-in 2005-in The Bronx. Watching it, seeing the pictures and hearing the audio will help you-no matter where you are or where you are from-get somewhat of an understanding of the conditions they (and especially Joey) faced-and what decisions they (and he) had to make that day.


Bryant Funeral Home – 411 Old Town Road – Setauket, 2-4 & 7-9

Firematic Services tonight: 8pm

Funeral: tomorrow, Monday-St James RC 429 Route 25a–Setauket-11am.

More about “Black Sunday”

January 23, 2005 a Dark Day in FDNY History
Sunday, January 23, 2005 will forever be remembered as a dark and devastating day for the New York City Fire Department, when we lost three brave members in two separate incidences: Lt. Curtis W. Meyran of Battalion 26 and Lt. John G. Bellew of Ladder 27, both in the Bronx, and Firefighter Richard T. Sclafani of Ladder 103 in Brooklyn.

All three members were laid to rest the last week of January amid a sea of family, friends and thousands of Department members who came to celebrate the lives of these heroic men. Lieutenant Meyran and Lieutenant Bellew made the Supreme Sacrifice at a third-alarm fire located at 236 E. 178th Street in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx. Meyran and Bellew, along with Firefighters Joseph P. DiBernardo and Jeffrey G. Cool of Rescue 3 and Firefighters Eugene Stolowski and Brendan K. Cawley of Ladder 27, were forced to jump from a fourth floor rear window after they became trapped above the fire while performing searches for reported trapped occupants. They were among the first units to respond to the mid-morning blaze.

Lieutenants Meyran and Bellew were transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where they both succumbed to their injuries. Firefighters DiBernardo, Cool, Stolowski and Cawley were all transported to area hospitals in critical condition. Later that afternoon, the Department suffered another devastating loss. Firefighter Sclafani made the Supreme Sacrifice Sacrifice after responding to a second-alarm fire at 577 Jerome Street in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Firefighter Sclafani and members of Ladder 103 entered the basement where the fire started and began searching both for the location of the fire and to rescue any trapped occupants. During these search operations, Firefighter Sclafani became separated from his colleagues. He was found minutes later unconscious and in respiratory arrest on the cellar staircase. Firefighter Sclafani was transported to Brookdale Hospital where he died a short time later.(source)