2 fund-raisers to honor heroes

Let the celebrations begin.

As the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the time to celebrate and honor the lives of the dead with charitable deeds done in their names is upon us.

Next month in Brooklyn, two neighborhoods will hold fund-raisers in honor of Danny Suhr of Engine 216/Ladder Co. 118, and Capt. Vinny Brunton of Ladder 105.

Out in Sheepshead Bay, a bunch of neighborhood guys who were Suhr's classmates at St. Edmund's grade school and Madison High School will honor their fallen friend with an Aug. 1 fund-raiser at Pip's Comedy Club. The event will feature comics Joey Gay, Greg Wilson and radio deejay Chuck Nice.

"Danny was just this great neighborhood guy who nobody ever had a bad word for," says Ray Garvey, who is putting on the show with his brother John, the owner of Pips.

"Whether you played against him on the football field or hung out with him in Kelly Park, we just want to do something small to say the neighborhood will never forget."

The Garveys and Mike Sullivan, manager of the ever-popular Brennan and Carr restaurant on Avenue U, are coordinating the event.

"Danny was a neighborhood hero on the gridiron," Sullivan says. "He was a greater hero that day. He worked in my family's restaurant as a kid and he was just a great guy. He'll never be forgotten."

Team tribute

The proceeds of the $25-a-head comedy show will go to buy the Madison HS football team new jerseys emblazoned with memorial arm patches bearing Danny Suhr's name, the FDNY insignia, and the number 90. Suhr wore that number playing football for Madison, the FDNY team, and the semi-pro Brooklyn Mariners.

"He was just this happy guy who was always there with a smile and a laugh, and you thought he'd be around forever," says Ray Garvey, a retired cop. "Every penny collected at the door will go to memorialize Danny.

"We thought, what better way to celebrate his life than with some laughter, and by making it a tradition for the players of Madison to wear his name and number on their arms.

"Anything left over will be spent on footballs or other equipment for the team. He was a terrific ballplayer, a great fireman and a great family man."

Suhr left a wife and daughter.

On Sept. 11, Suhr was one of the first firefighters to die, the man to whom FDNY chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge administered last rites before he too perished in the dust.

Down in Windsor Terrace, the Capt. Vincent Brunton Memorial Scholarship Fund already has raised a substantial amount. On Aug. 9, Brunton's friends, who run the scholarship fund to Bishop Ford High, will hold an already sold-out $100-a-head pitch and putt golf outing to Riis Park.

Tickets are available for the $50-a-head, all-you-can-eat barbecue at Ft. Tilden Field that wil follow from noon to 6 p.m.

"The Capt. Vincent Brunton Memorial Scholarship will help send kids through Bishop Ford right in the neighborhood where Vinny was born and raised," says Donald Barbieri, a longtime friend.

"In his life, Vinny was always helping someone, and now it's only natural that his friends continue to do so in his name. He would have liked this - an afternoon of friends, on the beach, golf, barbecue, a band, deejay, a few beers, helping kids.

"It's the right way to celebrate Vinny's life."

Left 2 children

Vinny was last reported rushing with his men into one of the towers on that clear blue Tuesday morning in September. Just shy of a year later, his friends are making sure that final act of heroism will make a difference in the lives of young people for years to come.

Vinny, who left a wife and two kids, also was a popular bartender at Farrell's bar in Windsor Terrace, a few blocks from Bishop Ford.

"Vinny Brunton was deeply loved in this neighborhood," says Jimmy Houlihan, co-owner of Farrell's. "His buddies got together to make sure all the good things he did for people continue. Vinny would have bought the first ticket to a day out like this to help kids."

If you want to see your buck used right to honor the dead, this is the way to go.

These grass-roots charities honoring the Sept. 11 victims that are popping up all over the neighborhoods of the city aren't overloaded with the red tape, creative accounting and impenetrable bureaucracy of the big, megamillion-dollar organizations.

When friends honor fallen buddies, the buck is well spent.

For information about the Danny Suhr fund-raiser, call Pip's Comedy Club at (718) 646-9433, or send contributions to Pips, 2005 Emmons Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11235. For the Capt. Vincent Brunton Memorial Scholarship Fund, call John Powers at Farrell's Bar, (718) 788-8779, or mail contributions c/o Farrell's, 215 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.