What follows is my post from 2010 with links to similar posts from years earlier:
When a man had a heart attack at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, Joseph Angelini Sr. was the parishioner who quietly crossed the sanctuary to perform CPR.
He was a New York City fireman for almost 40 years, and though the Lindenhurst volunteer fire department was full when he tried to sign up, he went on helping anyway, his wife, Anne, remembers.
When a neighbor’s kid broke through a storm door, when someone on the block had a dryer fire, when another neighbor got hit by a car, Angelini was the one who ran over. Put out the fire. Stanched the bleeding. Stabilized the patient. Rode to the hospital. He didn’t brag about it. He just did it.
Once, his wife was driving him home from the fire station, and as they passed a neighborhood pond, he yelled to pull over. A kid skating had just gone through the ice. Angelini jumped into the water, rescued the boy and sent him home to dry out.
“We went home and never even got the kid’s name,” his wife remembered.
Angelini was one of the fire department legends who died in their rescue efforts at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, along with his son, Joseph Jr.
The elder Angelini, 63, was a Rescue 1 firefighter who thought retirement was a dirty word, upset that they were going to kick him out next year at 65. It was getting harder on him all the time: Sometimes, he’d come home on the train so tired that he would sleep through his stop and have to get off in Babylon. Everyone told him, “Retire, retire,” but he wouldn’t hear of it, his wife said. He loved the job and never complained. Now, village officials are talking about renaming Hoffman Avenue after him.
In Manhattan, where he spent his whole career, Angelini was chosen Man of the Year last year by the Holy Name Society. For 40 years, he was the one to sell tickets to the Communion breakfast, work the St. Patrick’s Day parade, collect donations at the firehouse for the children at Christmas.
He was tough as nails at work, but gentle and thoughtful at home, and his grandchildren were his joy, his wife said. He taught them to rappel out of trees on a rope, work with wood, use a 35-mm. camera. He hid a teddy bear, and they’d have to find it with a flashlight and then do CPR on it. He built a rocking horse for them. And he was a “big Christmas addict” who overspent and over-decorated the front lawn with the three wise men, the angel, the nativity scene, the works.
“I told him, it’s your Italian coming out,” said his wife, who is Irish- American. “He was a character.”
She could only bring herself to put up what was absolutely necessary this past Christmas, just a 3-foot tree for the grandkids.
The surviving family members made the best of it, just as Angelini would have wanted. He always told her, keep the house, take care of the kids, if anything ever happened to him. She looks up at a portrait of him hanging in the hallway, and his gaze is serious.
“There’s an expression on his face, ‘OK, now, deal with it; you handle it from here on,'” his wife said. “That was our deal.”
Friends tell her that if her husband had to go, he’d want to go out at a big job. She thinks they may be right.
“Everyone gripes about their job; he didn’t,” she says. “He was one in a million. I’d like people to know that he was a good Joe.”
— Elizabeth Moore (Newsday) March 4, 2002
09/11/10: The above is a reprint of an original article that is no longer available at the original source.
The elder Mr. Angelini, 63, was the most veteran firefighter in the city, with 40 years on the job. He was tough and “rode the back step” like everyone else.
…Joey Sr. always said carry your own weight. He always carried his.
…Mr. Angelini, who had four children, taught Joseph Jr. carpentry. Often they worked on projects together. (— Continued).
Joseph Angelini, Jr., Joe Sr.’s son, and a New York firefighter like his father, was also among the heroes who perished on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
…Yesterday, in Lindenhurst’s village square, about 200 people came to see a portion of Hoffman Avenue rechristened Angelini Avenue in honor of the fallen firefighters. The new name will apply to the 1.8-mile stretch of road parallel to the southern side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks that run through the village.
Dignitaries sat in the gazebo while spectators in light summer clothes fanned themselves with their programs, and a solemn phalanx of firefighters stood silently toward the rear of the square. Bells, flags, drums and bagpipes dignified the occasion.
Mary Angelini, 30, said some of her earliest memories were of dropping her father off for the train as he went in to work. Years later, she often met her brother there on his way home.
“They would be surprised today that someone would take the time to name a street after them,” Mary Angelini said. “They were doing what they loved. They were doing it for who they loved. And they would come home at the end of the day on this very street and go back to the families that were the most important thing in their lives.”
Officials believed a tribute was in order. “It’s hard to imagine that there could be two people more worthy of a permanent memorial,” said Legis. David Bishop (D-West Babylon). “No family in America better represents our nation’s overwhelming sense of loss.”
“To me the symbolism of renaming a road goes beyond a permanent tribute to their memory,” said Lindenhurst Mayor Lynda Distler. “It will serve to remind us of the sacrifices made that day by Joe Sr. and Joe Jr. and countless others.” (— Continued).
– from an article by Thai Jones (Newsday), August 4, 2002
09/11/10: The above is a portion of a reprint of an article that is no longer available at the original source.