Bayside Says Its Goodbyes / Community honors 2 fallen FDNY heroes

September 30, 2001

When Virginia Quinn strode from Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church in Bayside yesterday with her son Kevin, his teacher caught the boy's eye and waved. Kevin craned to return her gaze, and his face broke into a smile.

Kevin's father, Ricardo Quinn, a Fire Department emergency medical technician who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, was memorialized at the church yesterday.

And in appreciation for his valor, people from all over the neighborhood, some who didn't even know him, came to the church to pay their respects.

On a blustery day, in Catholic churches a mere eight blocks apart, Bayside said goodbye to two of its own.

An hour earlier, carpenters and clerks, teachers and truck drivers lined 35th Avenue for a memorial service at St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church for William E. Krukowski, a New York City firefighter who was killed in the collapse.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has urged all New Yorkers to attend funerals and memorials to support their grieving fellow citizens, spoke briefly at both services. The two memorials were among at least 18 services yesterday for emergency personnel killed in the attack.

Giuliani said the city's uniformed emergency personnel helped evacuate more than 20,000 people within minutes from the mammoth World Trade Center with minimal panic, calling it the greatest building evacuation in history.

"There is only one reason for that, and that's the perseverance and professionalism" of the city's uniformed personnel, the mayor said at the memorial service for Krukowski.

"William, your Dad didn't die in vain," he said, addressing Krukowski's son. "He didn't die for nothing."

William Gassman, a cousin of the fallen firefighter, said Krukowski had worked as a bulldozer operator at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. He asked that a memorial be built where the collapsing Twin Towers buried his cousin, pleading with the mayor not to allow the disaster to be forgotten once the rubble is carted off to landfills.

"Please memorialize him as the hero that he always will be," Gassman said.

The deaths have served to help tighten the bonds that give identity to Bayside, a blue-collar community where flags flying from porches have never been an uncommon sight, and where red, white and blue ribbons festoon fences.

Flowers and handwritten messages of support left by passersby adorn a makeshift shrine outside Engine 320, the fire house on Francis Lewis Boulevard, a few blocks from Blessed Sacrament.

When St. Josaphat's announced there would be a special Mass on Sept. 12, word spread through the neighborhood so quickly that the church was packed.

"So many people have changed now, and have been so cooperative," said the Rev. Francis Bien.

And at PS 32, where Kevin is a fourth-grader, the parent-teacher association has promised to donate 10 percent of its annual candy fund-raising drive to Kevin's family, said his teacher, Diana Rahimazda.

"Everyone wants to be there for everyone," Rahimazda said. "It seems as if everyone is working together any way that they can." -

-Martin C. Evans (Newsday)