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FF Jack Slivinski Jr.

 

In Loving Memory of Firefighter Jack Slivinski Jr.:

Our hearts are broken son. Wish you were here with us. We miss you. We Love You Jackie.

Love, Dad and Mom

Donation Information:
This donation is in memory of
Firefighter Jack Slivinski Jr.

 

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FF Scott C. Bellucci

 

In Loving Memory of Firefighter Scott C. Bellucci:

With a strong internal drive to help others, Scott had always dreamed of becoming a police officer, a soldier, or a firefighter. He struggled through his high school years fighting ADD and depression, and always relied upon his need to help others and make people smile as a way to cope. No one can ever say they were in Scott’s company and did not laugh, or at the bare minimum, smiled. His presence would light up a room and you certainly knew he was there.

Scott’s ADD unfortunately always seemed to amplify his problems. Yet his yearning to assist others drove Scott towards the advocacy for those in need, and defending those who could not defend themselves. Scott always gravitated towards the underdog in an attempt to fix issues and right wrongs. As a member of the high school “Dare to Dream” club, he advocated for the less fortunate, handicapped, learning disabled, or emotionally challenged, and tried to instill in them that they were not disabled, instead they were only different.

Scott himself dared to dream and pushed forward not letting anyone hold him back as he overcame his disabilities. And after a difficult physical and emotional struggle, Scott became a member of the graduating class of the Bergen County Fire Academy on August 6th, 2010. With a newly earned and certified title, Firefighter Scott Charles Bellucci had achieved what he thought impossible and fulfilled his dream.

As a member in a volunteer engine company, Scott was quick to volunteer or step forward whenever something needed to be done. Whether it was dressing up as Sparky the Dog on fire prevention days, showing cub and boy scouts the firehouse and engine, answering the call for assistance, standing by during the annual Fourth of July fireworks display, or answering a fire call regardless of the time or place, Scott was always ready willing and able to assist as needed.

Scott never gave up on his quest to help others, even if it meant stopping in the street if he saw someone who even appeared to need assistance. But Scott never forgot his roots and would on occasion stop in to see those in the Dare to Dream club where he would answer questions or just provide an ear for those in need. In 2011, Scott was asked to speak at Montclair State University where a convention for learning disabled high school students was being held. Wearing his dress blues, Scott took the stage and delivered a speech which was not prepared, written down, or even rehearsed. Scott spoke from the heart and knew exactly what he wanted to share with the audience, and did so in an exceptional manner. I thank God that Bob Haugh, Project Coordinator for the New Jersey Office of Special Education, was onsite and filmed Scott’s speech as Scott is now immortalized for all to see on YouTube.

Scott was a champion for those in need; however, he failed to be able to control his inner demons when it came to dealing with his ADD and depression. His outwards appearance was that of a smile and a love for his family, friends, and God. Yet internally his struggles continued until on February 17, 2012 when Scott took his own life. Not a moment goes by that Scott is not missed as we try to come to terms with the grief of his loss. The body might be gone, but the spirit lives on forever. Scott will never be forgotten.

Joe Bellucci

Dare to Dream

By presenting the video below, it is the intent of FBHA to honor Scott Bellucci and to recommend to others, that if you are suffering from depression, PTSD, stress, addictions or other behavioral health issues, please seek help as soon as possible. This video, taken in November of 2011 shows Scott encouraging students that they can overcome personal challenges to succeed in life. Yet, as he championed for others, he forgot the most important person, and that was himself….Rest in Peace Scott.

Dare to Dream 2011 Video

Permission to use this video has been granted by the Bellucci family.

Donation Information:
This donation is in memory of
Firefighter Scott C. Bellucci

 

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FF/PM Todd A. Diercks

 

In Loving Memory of Firefighter/Paramedic Todd A. Diercks:

July 23, 1978 – July 28, 2011

It’s tough to face the fact that it’s now almost 730 days since we lost Todd. While we clearly understand that we’ll never make sense of this, we can painfully recall all the signals. And in retrospect, some were very subtle while others should have been brutally obvious to everyone that knew him.

We’re thankful and proud to say that we’ve been able to maintain our friendships with many of the professionals that worked with Todd in fire and EMS services. All are uniformly dedicated, driven by pride and honor as well as have a strong respect for life. While they’ll do anything to sustain these values, it’s a sad fact that too many, like Todd, let their pride override their ability to seek help when it’s needed.

While he still lived at home during his earliest paid-on-call years, Todd would occasionally share the basics of the calls he was on – often with accidents and extrications involved. But in the morning, you could tell that he had witnessed some horrific events, including those with young mothers and children whose fates were still unknown.

Todd was a happy, witty and entertaining young man, whose career goals as a firemedic faded quickly following a spinal injury that occurred during off hours. He was in great pain, but more importantly he was devastated in knowing he had lost the career he loved as well as his identity and joy in life.

Again, in retrospect, we know that this injury was the turning point in his life as the remaining years were compromised by the ongoing physical and emotional pain as well as an unbelievable string of tragic events that he called, “his black cloud”.

We still grieve over the unconscionable fact that there was nobody in his life, personal or professional, who was able to foresee his action or to lead him to the help that could’ve saved him.

Ironically, it’s both heartbreaking and encouraging to see that the topic of suicide is no longer suppressed in general conversations or media — but awareness is only the beginning of the battle. Our family encourages you to join us in supporting the efforts of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance. This group is unique in their abilities to help fire and EMS professionals identify and act upon the symptoms and signals that put themselves or others at risk.

Al & Leah Diercks

Donation Information:
This donation is in memory of
Firefighter/Paramedic Todd A. Diercks

 

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FF Timothy J. Karnisky

 

In loving memory of Firefighter Timothy J. Karnisky 1970-2010

When Tim was 4 years old and living in the city of Rochester, NY, the city fire department sent a truck down our street to promote smoke alarms. The firefighters let little Timmy climb up into the truck and wear their helmet. From that day on, Tim wanted to be a firefighter. He never wavered in his goal. Tim started out as an Explorer on the Brighton, NY fire department. From there he became a volunteer and finally a paid firefighter in 1995. This was the culmination of a 20 year dream.

Tim loved being a fireman and helping others. While he struggled in high school with the relevance of the courses, once he started firefighter training, he had no problem with the course work. A co-worker said of Tim, that he was a great PR person for the fire department, because when a town resident brought their family to the fire department, Tim would be the first one up to show them around. He was wonderful with both parents and the kids.
He also gave to his community. He volunteered for Brighton Ambulance, was an Explorer leader for several years. He was an avid bicyclist, riding for many charities: The Tour de Cure, heart, and cancer. Tim was the first person to help all his family and friends with moving, hauling, babysitting; anything that was needed. He was a huge supporter of his godchild in all her endeavors. He was a wonderful son and a very protective older brother. He enjoyed kayaking, jet skiing and cross-country skiing. He loved photography and was at any fire scene where there was a possibility of good pictures. Some of his pictures were featured in a national fire magazine.

From late teen years on, Tim fought the battle of depression. At times it put him into a very dark space. Other times he could cover and hide his depression from everyone. It did not affect his ability to do his job as a firefighter. Tim fought long and hard for many years. He was a victim of both the insidious depression and over prescribing of depression medications. In the end, Tim just couldn’t fight any longer and took his own life. At his eulogy a co-worker (a cancer survivor) said “…depression is a disease like cancer. For some, the medicines work, for others they don’t.” Unfortunately the medicines were a part of Tim’s demise. Tim is missed everyday by his family and friends.

Jean Willis

Donation Information:
This donation is in memory of
Firefighter Timothy J. Karnisky

 

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FF Michael Bonanno

 

In Loving Memory of Michael Bonanno, NYFD Ladder 7

Fire Department of The City of New York

One of Michaels’ proudest moments is when he became a member of the New York City Fire Department. He enjoyed a great career and also thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie within it’s ranks. Unfortunately, a back injury ended his career early, maybe too early, one of the issues he struggled with after leaving the fire service. The pictures above tell only a portion of what he was as a person. I am Joseph Bonanno, Michael’s brother and also a veteran of the FDNY.

The picture above is of Michael and I, at a train station with our gear on September 12, 2001 on our way to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Even dealing with a disabling back injury, he insisted on responding and we both worked side by side, tirelessly in search of survivors or helping other firefighters. His company, Ladder 7, lost 5 members that day and it was his shift that was working that morning. We all lost so much that terrible morning as the world both grieved and applauded the FDNY.

Michael married and adopted a daughter (pictured above, Isabel) and lived in several places, Morro Bay, CA, Asheville, NC, Destin, FL and eventually settled in Cleveland, OH.

Our family suffered another terrible loss early in our lives. Our dear mother, Audrey Bonanno was severely burned in a fire in our home in 1981 and succumbed to the injuries a week later. Michael, like all of us, took it hard, as well as 9/11 and struggled with alcohol, family issues, back pain and depression. He worked very hard to fight these demons and assisted so many others through difficult times. He volunteered much at his local church, was a talent in the kitchen cooking for the homeless, learned all the various home improvement skills and helped so many with this, sponsoring AA meetings and was always there if and when needed.

He was a kind soul and loved by many. Sadly, on July 31, 2012, he took his life in a terrible way, which shocked and saddened all who knew him. It was something that most firefighters cannot fathom happening, yet it happens more often than I ever knew and sadly, now know personally. The grief and confusion that happens the wake of suicide is something no one should ever have to endure, especially those who sacrifice so much for so many. For those that read this and have considered suicide as an option, PLEASE GO SOMEWHERE FOR HELP. I can tell you first hand, you are not better off and for sure, not the ones you leave behind. For the survivors of suicide, I also wish that you seek help and support and pray for your healing.

Joseph Bonanno

Donation Information:
This donation is in memory of
Firefighter Michael Bonanno

 

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