WTC TRADER DIED THERE AS FIREMAN

Copyright 2001 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)...12/03/2001



Mourners filled a Queens church yesterday on what would have been the birthday of Firefighter Scott Kopytko, a man of "quiet confidence" who shunned Wall Street wealth to find happiness rushing into burning buildings.

"I see him walking with a rolling gait and a face with a broad grin filling it," said Capt. Tim McKinney, Kopytko's boss at Ladder Co. 15 in lower Manhattan.

"His mother said she'd never seen him smile so much until he became a firefighter," McKinney said.

Kopytko would have turned 33 yesterday. The firefighter died Sept. 11 while saving lives at the World Trade Center.

He was one of 12 men from his South St. firehouse lost in the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. Impressed bosses McKinney said Kopytko joined the FDNY just three years ago, but he exuded "quiet confidence" and impressed superiors by having the knowledge of a seasoned firefighter.

"I once said to myself, 'That man is going to be my boss someday,' " McKinney told the more than 300 mourners who packed St. Ann's Church in Flushing.

Kopytko's fire helmet was placed on the altar next to a photograph of the smiling firefighter in his turnout gear. 'He saved lives' "On Sept. 11, he answered the call of duty on the darkest day of our country's history," said Mayor Giuliani, directing his comments to Kopytko's mother and stepfather, Joyce and Russell Mercer.

"He saved lives and he defended the honor of the United States of America," the mayor said.

The Rev. George Pfundstein asked mourners never to forget Kopytko and the thousands who died in the attacks.

"On that day a new era was started in the United States, in the City of New York, in the world and in our lives," Pfundstein said. "We must keep alive the story of their lives, the story of their goodness, the story of their compassion and love." Honors graduate Kopytko graduated from St. John's University with honors and a degree in computer science. He worked for several years as a commodities trader for a firm in the World Trade Center before choosing firefighting over finance.

"Scott didn't become a firefighter to become a hero, but that's what he is," said Kopytko's godmother, Marcy Ann Ziegler.

Kopytko's only sibling, Christine, who is 17 months younger, said her brother was loving and protective, but always longed for a little brother to play with.

"While we are full of sadness at his loss, we know that Scott is with 342 brothers from the Fire Department," she said, referring to the firefighters lost on Sept. 11. "Those are the brothers that my parents couldn't give him."



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