Photo by: Jamie Germano, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
By Jon Campbell
ALBANY The names of two West Webster firefighters killed by a deranged gunman in a Christmas Eve ambush were among nine added to the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial on Tuesday.
The families of Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka -- both volunteer firefighters in the Monroe County town -- received memorial flags from Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy at the event near the state Capitol, where the wall with the names of 2,381 firefighters killed in the line of duty stands.
"The whole landscape changed," said Duffy, the former mayor and police chief of Rochester. "Firefighters are trained to go forward and put fires out. That changed the whole thought process in terms of adding on to the dangers that these brave men and women face every day."
Also among the names added Tuesday was Isaac Ransom, a firefighter from the East Clinton Fire Department in Dutchess County, who died in 1946.
The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial was first dedicated in 1998, and new names are added each year during Fire Prevention Week.
Family members traced the names of their fallen loved ones following the event, which included the playing of "Amazing Grace" by the Police Emerald Society of Westchester County.
"While we as New York state firefighters come together to memorialize the life and sacrifice of those inscribed on the wall, we also come together to provide comfort and support to these brave heroes," state Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer said of the families in attendance.