Saturday, September 5, 2015

Joseph and Anthony

FF Joseph Spor was a seven-year veteran of the FDNY.  FF Spor spent almost the entirety of his career in the FDNY as a member of Engine 88/Ladder 38 in the Bronx.  However, in mid-August 2001, he fulfilled a professional dream when he joined Rescue Co. 3, one of the FDNY's elite units and the Rescue unit where his dad had worked, first as a firefighter and later as a lieutenant.  

Joseph Spor was thirty-five years old when he died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  He and his wife Colleen were the proud parents of four children, the oldest of whom was nine years old at the time of FF Spor's death and the youngest of whom was just six months old.  Firefighting skills were not the only skills Joseph Spor possessed.  He was an accomplished carpenter and craftsman and had - in fact - just started a home renovation project when he, his brothers from Rescue 3 and hundreds of other FDNY members descended on Lower Manhattan on that terrible Tuesday morning.  

Colleen Spor was left without her husband, her children's father, and without the means necessary to complete the home renovation project Joe had started.  Firefighters from his old house, Engine 88/Ladder 38, stepped in to help but did not have enough money to complete the project.  All hope seemed lost.  

And then something extraordinary happened. 

While it may seem almost impossible to recall - the further we descend into the muck and mire of partisanship in these United States - in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 the notion of doing good unto another was neither an alien concept nor an infrequent occurrence.  In Kansas, there is a small town called Anthony.  In 2001, the people of Anthony, Kansas wanted to do something to help those who had died in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.  Anthony's Mayor, John Schott, called various agencies looking to be put in contact with a family in need.  Those calls eventually led him to being put in contact with FF Joe Huber of Engine 88 in the Bronx, one of FF Spor's closest friends.  The two men got to talking...

...and before you could click the heels on your ruby-red slippers three times, the people of Anthony, Kansas, the FDNY, and the family of FF Joseph Spor became joined at the hip.  Donations poured in from people who had never met the family and perhaps had never been to (and never possessed a desire to go to) New York City.  The project was completed.   

The completion of the work did not represent the culmination of the relationship.  FF Huber became the FDNY's unofficial ambassador to Anthony, Kansas.  The people of Anthony, Kansas erected their very own 09-11 Memorial to honor the lives lost that day...

...and those impacted by their death.  

Even those who never made an acquaintance while living halfway across the United States.

FF Joseph Spor
FDNY - Rescue 3


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