Our 11th Annual Gala is fast approaching—November 15th is right around the corner—and we can’t wait to celebrate with you! The evening will spotlight some incredible individuals who have made significant contributions this year to the Friends of Firefighters community and beyond. Scroll down to meet them all.
2018 Man of the Year Award
Retired Dispatcher and Honorary Battalion Chief Warren Fuchs
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Warren Fuchs traces his interest in the fire service back to his youth growing up in the 1950s. His grandfather, a New York City police officer, was the one who took him to visit his first firehouse -- Engine 250. Soon after that visit, Warren began buffing at Engine 323, near his Brooklyn home, and later at Engine 283. After graduating from high school, Warren took the New York City Firefighter Exam, but because of a medical condition, which he later outgrew, he was disqualified from the list. Warren did the next best thing and became a fire alarm dispatcher in Brooklyn, a career that spanned nearly four decades before retiring in 2003.
Before and after retiring, Warren was a volunteer firefighter for 14 years in the Montgomery Township Fire Department in Pennsylvania. He was also a member of the NYC Fire Riders, overseeing iron and steel deliveries to Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, among other places. Prior to that, for 10 years, he helped raise money for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation by organizing their annual dinner dance. An honorary battalion chief in NYC and Camden, NJ, today Warren volunteers his time each year as a logistics coordinator for the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in New York City.
Warren is also a professional photographer in his spare time, having contributed to a variety of fire service publications, among them Fire Engineering, WNYF Magazine and Firehouse Magazine. His work has been published internationally in Le Figaro Magazine in France, Stern Magazine in Germany, and Scope, a South African weekly men’s lifestyle magazine, no longer in circulation. He has traveled to different cities sharing his vast photo collection by giving presentations at the FDNY Fire Academy, The New York City Fire Museum and Friends of Firefighters, among others. Many of his photographs were taken during his buffing days with Rescue 2, Engine 255 and Ladder 157.
Over the years, Warren has dabbled in acting, taking roles in the FX series Rescue Me and the 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123. His voice can be heard in the 2000 film Frequency. He is the author of Where’s the Fire?, a pictorial history of the fire service that published in 1984.
Warren and his wife, Diane, have lived in Washington Crossing, PA since 2004. They have one son, Chris, a journalist living in New York.
2018 Honor Roll Inductee
The Uniformed Firefighters Association
The Uniformed Firefighters Association is an advocacy organization representing the health, safety, and interests of New York City Firefighters. The UFA’s priorities have always been, and continue to be, protecting the rights of working firefighters, fighting for better and safer working conditions and higher wages, and keeping pensions fluid and preserving them, especially for our newest members. The UFA stands on solid ground with all governmental officials working closely with them to protect members’ interests. We proudly look forward to serving our membership ensuring that firefighters’ safety, health and wage benefits, and working conditions are maintained at the highest standards. The entire UFA Executive Board is honored to represent New York City Firefighters who selflessly save lives and property exercising one of the most important and dangerous jobs in the world.
2018 Step-Up Award
FDNY Engine 202/Ladder 101
FDNY Engine 202 and Ladder 101 were the first all-paid unit of the Brooklyn Fire Department. Formerly known as Engine Company 2 and Ladder Company 1, the fire companies were commissioned by the Brooklyn Fire Department on September 15th, 1869. Well known for their firefighting skills, Engine Company 2 originally consisted of 14 men who had served in the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York. The fire companies were reorganized twice. The first reorganization occurred in 1899 when the BFD merged with the FDNY and Engine Company 2 was renumbered to 102. The second reorganization occurred in 1913 when the companies were renumbered to Engine Company 202 and Ladder Company 101. Their original house was located on Van Brunt and Seabring Street in Red Hook until 1960 when the companies moved one block east to Richards Street. Friends of Firefighters now resides in the original firehouse.
Since its inception, Engine 202 and Ladder 101 have had five members recognized for their bravery and dedication (4 from 101 and 1 from 202). Fourteen members have made the Supreme Sacrifice by losing their lives protecting the citizens of New York City (5 from Engine 202 and 9 from Ladder 101).
God Bless All We Have Lost and God Bless The Red Hook Raiders!
2018 Humanitarian Award
George R. Scocca III has been serving the New York City Fire Service for over 30 years, beginning in 1988 as owner/publisher of Firefighters Quarterly, a magazine dedicated to New York City firefighters. In 1992 he hosted the 1st Annual Bravest Awards Dinner, recognizing New York City firefighters that have distinguished themselves among their peers. Now in its 27th year, the Bravest Awards Dinner has recognized over 200 of our Bravest and seated over 5,000 firefighters. Today, George concentrates his efforts on the epidemic of FDNY members that are suffering from the efforts at Ground Zero. He is the Founding Chairman of New York’s Bravest Foundation Inc., a 501©(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our Bravest through their current battles. To date, the organization has raised over $200,000 for FDNY-related causes, including the work being done at Friends of Firefighters.
2018 Public Service Award
Jim was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1949 to James and May Hayhurst. He was the baby of this Protestant/Catholic family with two older brothers. As a freshman in high school he met the love of his life, Linda Gandolfo, whom he married in 1970. They have two daughters, Linda and Debra, who are both successful teachers on Long Island. They have also been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren.
Jim’s years of public service began in 1969 as a trainee for the New York City Police Department. Although Jim enjoyed serving the City of New York as a police officer, he took the advice of his older brothers and joined the FDNY in 1971. As a probationary fireman he was assigned to Squad 5 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Also during this time, Jim entered the Naval Reserves and served his country with pride for six years.
In 1972, he was transferred to Engine 210 in Brooklyn, where he spent 14 successful years. Jim was promoted to Fire Marshal in 1986 and was assigned to the Bronx base. A year later, Jim was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Battalion-45. In 1988, he found his permanent home at Engine 259 in Long Island City, Queens.
Always a Union man, Jim became the Queens trustee for the Company Officers Association in 1989 and was elected as the Battalion-45 delegate of the UFOA in 1993.
Jim retired in 2002, one year after September 11th. However, it was important for him to remain connected to the FDNY. In 2003, he was elected as the Membership Chairman of the Retired Members Association (RMA) and in 2013 he became their Vice President.
For 47 years, Jim has been a member of the St. George Association holding various titles throughout the years. In 2009, he became the President of the organization.
Jim is also a member of the following fraternal organizations: The Emerald Society, the Steuben Association, The Vikings Association, Associate Member of the Pulaski Association and a volunteer for the N.Y. Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.
Jim’s real passion is helping our active duty veterans, as well as those returning home. Along with his wife, Linda, he has made it his mission to create care packages using funds donated from the RMA. They send these packages overseas to our troops. Over the years they have received hundreds of letters thanking the RMA and FDNY for sending a little bit of home to our armed forces.
Jim is actively involved as a volunteer with the charity Building Homes for Heroes. This organization, established in 2006, builds new homes or modifies existing ones to accommodate the needs of injured soldiers. To date, they have gifted 150 mortgage free homes to our military heroes. Jim also serves as a liaison between the FDNY 343 Ride, the FDNY Motorcycle Club and the FDNY Boxing Club, all of whom support and raise funds for Building Homes for Heroes and our veterans.
2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Firefighter Kievon Harper
Firefighter Kievon Harper is a member of Rescue Company 5 and also serves our country as a member of the National Guard. He has been a devoted member of the NYC Fire Department since 2007 when he began his career at FDNY Ladder 176 in Bushwick. Over the years he has received award recognition with his company and was awarded the FDNY's Vincent J. Kane medal for his valor in saving 15 people during Hurricane Sandy. In 2016, he was awarded the Firefighter Thomas R. Elsasser Medal for assisting several lost and distressed FDNY members in a basement fire. An active Explorer and youth mentor, Kievon runs various trainings for incoming firefighter candidates to gain better insight about the FDNY both mentally and physically. He has been an active volunteer with Friends of Firefighters for several years, serving an intricate role in the restoration of their Red Hook quarters and continues to represent the organization as an outreach volunteer, spreading word of FoF services and events to fellow members in an effort to promote their cause.
2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Originally from Brooklyn, Eileen Levine met Nancy Carbone in the firehouse kitchen of Engine 205/Ladder 118 during the aftermath of September 11th. Eileen worked in the U.S. Federal Courthouse across the street from the firehouse and knew everyone at 205/118 for over 20 years. They were the first responders to all incidents at the courthouse, and throughout the years they became Eileen’s family as well. Every day for months Eileen would go to the kitchen to see if she could do anything to help. Nancy’s foresight and determination were, and continues to be, an inspiration for Eileen to help our Bravest in every way possible. She continues to volunteer and offer support at Friends of Firefighters and is humbled to be recognized tonight at the 11th Annual Fall Gala. She thanks Friends of Firefighters for this amazing honor.
2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Lt. Patrick O’Grady
Lt. Patrick O’Grady’s desire to become a part of the FDNY began when he was just a young boy growing up in Midwood, Brooklyn in the late 60s and early 70s. He will readily share with anyone who asks that this was, and still is, his dream job. Always enthralled with the firefighters that protected the neighborhood, Pat was welcomed into his local firehouse at an early age and encouraged to follow their path. The memory of his buffing days stayed with him throughout his formative years and on May 9th, 1999, he brought his lifelong dream to reality when he was appointed to the Fire Academy. Upon graduating he was assigned to Ladder 6 in Manhattan, then during his second and third years with the department, Pat moved over to Ladder 169 in Sheesphead Bay before returning to Ladder 6 in 2001. In 2013 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned to the 8th Division in Brooklyn. As Lieutenant, he took a detail to the Fire Department Operations Center in Downtown Brooklyn, then to the FDNY Counterterrorism Unit. After several years of heroics, Pat was awarded the WTC Campaign Medal, a Class “A” Medal for water rescue in the East River, two Unit Citations, and the Firefighter Thomas R. Elsasser Medal. Pat retired in 2015 from WTC-related injuries after 17 years of dedicated service. Today he donates his time to Friends of Firefighters, helping to shed the best possible light on the organization, underscoring the importance of the mission and making valuable connections whenever possible.