Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Stand-Up Guy

The Brunton family of Brooklyn counts, among its members, three brothers separated in age by less than two years and joined at the hip in their family's business - which happens to be the FDNY.  On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, one of the three Brunton brothers, Captain Vincent Brunton, Ladder Co. 105, was killed when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Capt. Vincent Brunton
Ladder Co. 105 (FDNY)

Vinnie Brunton was forty-three years old at the time of his death.  He had been on the job with the FDNY for twenty-two years, which was coincidentally also the length of time he and his wife, Kathy, had been married, as well as the age of Captain Brunton's daughter, Kelly, who was his oldest child.  Kelly is two years older than the Bruntons' other child, Tommy.  

Vinnie Brunton not only served the men and women of his Brooklyn neighborhood through his work in the FDNY, he did so, also, through his work behind the bar at Farrell's.  Tending bar there was his "side job" for more than two decades.  Although he and Kathy might have moved out of Brooklyn, they never did.  He lived and he worked among the people he knew and who knew him best of all.  It was home.  He never left it.

His brother, Tommy, spent the fall of 2001 honoring not only his fallen brother but all of his fallen brothers in the FDNY as a member of the FDNY's Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band by playing his bagpipes at hundreds of funerals and memorial services.  Among the fallen members of the FDNY whose remains were not recovered from the rubble of what was once the Twin Towers was Captain Vincent Brunson.  On December 13, 2001, slightly more than three months after his death, Kathy Brunson held a memorial service to honor her husband.

Tom Brunton and Michael Brunton are now both retired from the FDNY.  Tom retired as a Lieutenant and Michael as a Captain.  Both still play the pipes in the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band.  

And each time that either of the brothers Brunton participates in a ceremony such as this one, which took place at the September 11 Memorial on the 14th anniversary of the attacks, he undoubtedly casts his eye to one side of the crowd or the other, looking for just a glimpse of Vinny...

...may they never stop doing so.


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