TEARS, CHEERS FOR FIREMAN WHO HAD 'A HEART OF GOLD'

Copyright 2001 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)...11/27/2001

Under an unusually warm and bright November sun, hundreds gathered on Long Island yesterday to remember and honor Firefighter Dennis Scauso - "a dragon slayer with a heart of gold."

New York's Bravest and firefighters from around the country, all in their crisp, dress blues, filled the pews of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Melville for a memorial Mass for Scauso, who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

"What mattered to Dennis most were human beings and all living things," said the Rev. Bruce Powers. "Dennis was naturally a rescuer - it was a God-given gift he had."

Relatives and friends of Scauso, 46, remembered the strapping father of four as a talented firefighter, expert handyman and a loving brother, husband and father.

"Words just don't keep to capture the intensity of my love for you," his wife, Janlyn Scauso, wrote in a memorial booklet given to mourners. "For now, I see your face in the eyes of our children. You will always dwell in our hearts. I miss you, I ache for you."

Janlyn and Dennis Scauso, who grew up as neighbors in Commack, L.I., had four children: Darcie, 13; Donny, 12; Gabrielle, 6, and Juliette, 4.

Donny imagined what kind of grandfather his father would have been.

"I know he would have been a really good grandpa," he wrote in the booklet. "But I have a lot of stuff to tell my kids when I grow up, like how my Dad was a hero."

Mayor Giuliani reminded Donny that his father was a hero for all New Yorkers.

America's 'hardest hour'

"You should feel a tremendous pride in this man," Giuliani said. "Our firefighters conducted a rescue operation that reencouraged America during its hardest hour."

The mayor asked the mourners to show their appreciation for Scauso and his family with a standing ovation. For a full minute, the congregation applauded as Giuliani embraced Janlyn Scauso and her children.

For the first time during the two-hour memorial, Scauso let the tears stream down her face.

Dennis Scauso was a 12-year veteran of New York's Bravest. He served with Engine 319 in Forest Hills, Queens, before joining the Queens-based Haz-Mat Co. 1 in 1991. He earned three citations for valor.

In his spare time, Dennis Scauso built a treehouse with Donny, flew small airplanes, sailed in a homemade boat he called the SS Minnow and fixed anything that needed repair.

"With Dennis as your big brother, you never needed" a motor club, said sister Nancy Shakouri. "He was a dragon slayer with a heart of gold."

As the final procession began outside the church, two Suffolk County helicopters flew low, drawing attention to the clear sky.

Soon after, eight white doves were released - one for each year Janlyn and Dennis Scauso were married.