Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Gospel According to Lilly

FF Allan Tarasiewicz 
Rescue 5 - FDNY

The great 20th Century American philosopher Robert Lilly once observed that, "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" that matters.   I am relatively confident that the two men never made one another's acquaintance.  I am equally confident that FF Allan Tarasiewicz of Rescue 5 on Staten Island embodied the spirit of which Lilly spoke. 

FF Tarasiewicz was just five feet six inches tall.  He was short enough, in fact, that his brothers at Rescue 5 - as a joke - built him a booster step so that he could get up and onto the rig without difficulty.  Forty-five years old, FF Tarasiewicz was a twelve-year veteran of the FDNY, having spent the final five years at Rescue 5.  September 11, 2001 was a scheduled off day for him.  However, the night before, he received a call telling him that he had to work a mandatory overtime shift with one of the department's other Rescue companies, Rescue 4.  It was with Rescue 4 that he responded to Lower Manhattan that morning.  He died in the South Tower.  His body was found in what had been the South Tower's 40th floor.  

He and his wife, Patricia, would have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in February, 2002. The couple met when she was a sixteen-year-old Navy brat and he was an eighteen-year-old Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps.  They proudly raised two children, Allan, Jr. and Melissa, both of whom were adults at the time of their father's death.  Tragically, Allan and Patricia Tarasiewicz had been looking forward to a vacation they had planned for the middle of September, which they were leaving for only after first celebrating Patricia's birthday - on September 12.  


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