MASS HONORS CHIEF WHO 'LIVED FOR FDNY'

By ADAM MILLER


April 3, 2002 -- Remembering him as a man who "loved to help others," hundreds of friends, family and New York's Bravest packed a Staten Island church yesterday to bid a tearful farewell to fallen FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Grzelak.
Clutching a framed photo of her 52-year-old husband, Joanne Grzelak fought back tears as his flag-draped coffin was carried into St. Roch's Church in Port Richmond.

During an emotional funeral Mass, Joanne, her voice choked with emotion, told mourners that nothing could ease the pain of losing her "best friend."

The remains of the father of two and Vietnam veteran, who was assigned to Battalion 48 in Brooklyn, were pulled from the rubble at Ground Zero March 22.

Pastor Leo Prince eulogized the 28-year FDNY veteran as a man who "laid down his life for his fellow man.

"He certainly saved a lot of lives . . . and we are all better off because of him," said Prince.

Grzelak was a history, trivia and computer buff affectionately known around the firehouse as "Joe Knows."

When Grzelak rushed to the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, he took with him a binder full of research he had amassed over the years about battling high-rise blazes.

Grzelak's friend, FDNY Lt. Pat Abatangelo, fondly recalled Grzelak as "fun-loving and extremely dedicated to the job.

"He just lived for being a firefighter," said Abatangelo.

"He was a great guy and a real gentleman. Everybody loved him. "

Mayor Bloomberg said Grzelak "knew how to get the job done and always did it with a smile."





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