For Him, Volunteering Was High Priority

October 3, 2001

Like so many who perished at the Twin Towers, Gerard Schrang was a firefighter's son who volunteered before he was old enough to vote and practiced search and rescue techniques as a form of relaxation.

Schrang was a 25-year member and former chief of the Holbrook Fire Department who served on the city's elite Rescue 3 company in the Bronx.

He was celebrating his 20th year as a city firefighter this year, having served previously on the Bronx's Engine Co. 45, Engine 75 and 33 Truck companies.

"The fire department was his life," Holbrook Assistant Chief Jim MacIntosh said.Volunteer training was a high priority for Schrang, who taught firefighters search and rescue and forcible entry techniques.

The father of two helped the Red Cross run a canteen during the TWA Flight 800 recovery effort, ex-chief Stephen McGerty said: "If anybody needed anything, [he] was always there."

But Schrang also liked to play, and was a former captain of the Holbrook Rebels team that competed in firefighter competitions.

He left that behind a few years ago, McGerty said.

"We get old eventually," he said. "That's for the kids."

--Elizabeth Moore (Newsday)