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Thread: Tears For Heroes 'Born To Serve'

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    Tears For Heroes 'Born To Serve'

    TEARS FOR HEROES 'BORN TO SERVE'

    By DENIS GORMAN

    June 8, 2002 --

    On the Sunday before Sept. 11, firefighters Sergio Villanueva and Gregory Sikorsky both spent the day at their favorite hobbies.
    Yesterday, the heroes - one a soccer fan, the other an antique-truck enthusiast - were remembered for the ultimate sacrifice they made in the line of duty two days later.

    Villanueva, an avid soccer player, scored the winning goal in a FDNY-NYPD match on Sept. 9, friends recalled.

    Villanueva, 33, had friends in both departments, having served as a cop in The Bronx and an undercover narcotics officer in Manhattan before joining the Fire Department in February 2000.

    "I used to work with Sergio. He was very outgoing, always smiling," said NYPD Officer Warren Thompson.

    Firefighters and police officers lined the streets outside St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing, Queens, yesterday during Villanueva's service.

    Villanueva, born on the July 4, 1968, in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, grew up in Flushing.

    During the service that packed the church, his sister, Mariel Suarez, read a poem she wrote about growing up with him.

    "My brother, my father, my friend, my hero," she read at one point, then broke into tears.

    Villanueva, was also remembered by his fianc

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    2 of Bravest Remembered

    2 of Bravest Remembered


    By SONDRA WOLFER, RUTH BASHINSKY
    and DON SINGLETON
    Daily News Writers

    The Rev. Robert Saccoman held up 3-year-old Steven Sikorsky yesterday so the 400 mourners could see him on the altar of St. Boniface Church, near the coffin of his father, Firefighter Gregory Sikorsky.

    "I want you to look out there," Saccoman said to Steven, "because it's a love story, a love story that all these people had for your dad, and it's a story your mother will continue to tell you."

    Sikorsky, 34, of Squad 41 in the Bronx and a 16-year-volunteer with the Hillcrest Fire Department in Rockland County, died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. His remains were among the last found at the site.

    He was one of two firefighters laid to rest in solemn services yesterday.

    Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta attended the Mass in the church in Wesley Hills, sitting up front with Sikorsky's wife, Marie, his brother Perry, and his parents, Luzia and George. A small photo of Gregory stood on the altar.

    "Today my family and I are at peace, knowing my brother Greg has been brought home to be laid to rest," Perry Sikorsky told the mourners. "I wish that everyone who had been lost in the World Trade Center could be found, as I understand their pain."

    The flag-draped coffin was carried to and from the church in a 1939 Mack fire engine that Gregory Sikorsky had bought the year before he died and which he was refurbishing.


    At St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing, Queens, hundreds of firefighters and police officers overflowed the church and lined the street outside for the memorial service for Firefighter Sergio Villanueva.

    Villanueva, 33, of Ladder 132, also died Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center, and his body was never found. His helmet was placed on the altar for the memorial service.

    Villanueva's fiancee, Tanya Villanueva, delivered a eulogy that had the congregation alternately wiping away tears and smiling.

    "When we first kissed, on June 30, 1994, in Miami, I knew we were meant for each other," she said. "A year later I rented a U-Haul truck to come to New York to be with you, even though you didn't tell me to."

    After he gave her a beautiful ring a week before he died, she said, "He couldn't have been more content with what he was doing and who he was with."

    A native of Argentina, Villanueva spent seven years in the Police Department, attaining the rank of detective and winning a total of 40 citations for meritorious service before switching to the Fire Department on Feb. 1, 2000.

    "I was the last one to talk to Serge on Sept. 11," said Firefighter Jerry Triglia, a 23-year firefighter at Ladder 132. "I was off that day, and I called him at the firehouse. He said, 'Right, old man

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    Firefighter's courage, spirit remembered

    Firefighter's courage, spirit remembered

    By KARI NEERING
    THE JOURNAL NEWS
    (Original publication: June 8, 2002)

    WESLEY HILLS

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