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Thread: Bravest Hail Firefighter-carpenter

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Bravest Hail Firefighter-carpenter



    September 10, 2002 -- More than 1,000 firefighters packed a Long Island church yesterday for a memorial service for firefighter Thomas Kuveikis, who was killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

    Kuveikis, 48, was a firefighter for 23 years, following in the footsteps of his father, Peter, a retired FDNY captain.

    From his father he also learned his second vocation, carpentry, which he pursued as a business on the side.

    "I don't know why Tom was called to heaven on Sept. 11 last year, but I suspect it was because God needed a great firefighter and another master carpenter," said Battalion Chief Michael DeGennaro, in a eulogy at St. Aidan Church in Williston Park, L.I.

    Kuveikis was a member of Squad 252 in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

    Kuveikis' fianc

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    WTC victim remembered

    WTC victim remembered

    Last of Bravest to get a memorial service


    Firefighter Thomas Kuveikis would have been red-faced from all the praise.

    "Honorable, honest, humorous, humble, humane and hero," Kathy Gelman said, describing her big brother during a memorial service on Long Island yesterday.

    Later she paused, and added: "And Tommy, I know you're looking down and saying 'Kathy, come on. You're killin' me.'"

    Kuveikis, 48, of Carmel, Putnam County, was the last of the 343 Fire Department members killed at the World Trade Center to get a memorial service.

    His remains have not been identified.

    The cascade of praise inside St. Aidan's Church in Williston Park might have embarrassed Kuveikis, but his family said he deserved every word.

    "He was sweet, funny, kind, gentle and unselfish," his fiance, Jennifer Auerhahn, said.

    "I know our children would have had the best father you could ever ask for. It seems so hard to believe these things will not happen," Auerhahn said.

    'A class by himself'

    Fire Lt. John Defilipo called Kuveikis his mentor and idol.

    "I want you to know, it didn't take that horrible day of Sept. 11 for me to know that you are my hero," he said.

    Capt. Ed Metcalf said Kuveikis was a firefighter "in a class all by himself."

    "He was as tough as they come," Metcalf said.

    The Rev. Rufin Kuveikis, Thomas' uncle, encouraged the hundreds of mourners to follow the example set by his nephew.

    "It is our attitude in life that is going to determine whether we have a happy life or a miserable one," the reverend said. "The greatest memorial we can bestow to Tommy and all the firefighters is to obtain their spirit."

    Kuveikis, who worked in Engine Squad 252 in Brooklyn and did carpentry as a second job, grew up in Brooklyn and later graduated from Wheatley High School after his family moved to East Williston.

    His late father, Peter, was a popular firefighter and his kid brother, Timothy, is currently among the ranks of the city's Bravest.

    Rev. Kuveikis noted that he had baptized his nephew, attended his First Communion and officiated at his marriage.

    "And now I have the privilege of introducing my nephew to God himself," the priest said.

    Among the mourners were Kuveikis' adult daughter, Kristen Kuveikis of Kentucky, and his five brothers and sisters.

    Outside the church after the Mass, a tearful Kristen Kuveikis was presented with her father's American flag as hundreds of firefighters in their dress blues lined Willis Ave.

    Young students from the St. Aidan's School across the street watched quietly from second-floor windows as a firefighter played taps on a bugle.

    A symbolic coffin containing Kuveikis' helmet, an American flag and other pieces of Kuveikis' uniform were then hoisted aboard the caisson fire truck.

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