Stories from Our Families

Our families are central to everything we do.  You can hear from them directly by reading their stories below.

Naoemi Gullickson

Widow of FDNY Hero Joseph Gullickson

It was 8:50 AM, on Sept. 11, 2001, when Joe called the house and urged me to turn on the television news. I was already watching and knew that an airplane had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The upper half of the tower was engulfed in thick smoke and flames….

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Tara & Michael Feinberg

Children of FDNY Hero Alan Feinberg

“Answer the Call has been there for my family for the past twenty years after my father, Alan Feinberg, was killed on September 11th 2001. Throughout the years my family has been able to participate in family special events and on occasion attend the gala in NYC. I can not put into words what it…

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Valerie Perry

Widow of PAPD Hero William J. Perry

“On December 22, 1980, my William (a Port Authority Police Officer) was on the Journal Square PATH Train when he attempted to arrest someone for disturbing passengers. At the next stop, he stepped off and tried to make the arrest. A fight erupted and both of them fell onto the tracks at which time the…

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Amanda de Geneste-Archer

Widow of NYPD Hero Fermin S. Archer Jr.

“My husband, Fermin “Sonny” Archer, Jr. was a 1st Grade Detective with the NYPD. His model was “If you need me, I’m there!” and yes, he was true to it. So, true to it, he shrugged it off and went straight back to work that same day. Only to be hospitalized a few hours later…

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Anne Nelson

Daughter of PAPD Hero James Nelson

“I was eleven years old when my father passed away on 9/11. He not only loved his family but also loved being a Port Authority police officer and instructor at the Police Academy. The Benefit Fund has been instrumental in providing my sister and I with fun events that allowed us to truly be kids….

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Jacqueline Peaco

Widow of NYPD Hero Gary Lee Peaco

“My late husband, Gary Lee Peaco, died in line of duty in 1988. Before his death, he and I spoke often about the futures of our twin daughters. The main things he emphasized were giving them a sense of consistency by establishing a home for them, and teaching them that the benefits of a good education would…

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Brian Perry

Son of PAPD Hero William J. Perry

You never really “move on” from something as terrible as having your father murdered right before Christmas but you do learn to move forward. Several members of the board have been extremely generous in providing their time and assistance in helping to guide and mentor me in my career. And several years ago I attended the annual gala and had the pleasure of seeing a video presentation honoring my father. Seeing the tears in my mother’s eyes as she watched that video encapsulated the good work The Fund does. THANK YOU!

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Monica Rogan

Daughter of FDNY Hero Matthew Rogan

On September 11, 2001, Monica was only 10 years old. She was sitting in class when she learned that something had happened in Manhattan. “I already had a bad feeling,” Monica said, recounting the events of that fateful day. Monica’s family stayed up all night watching the news – scanning the screen, hoping to spot…

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Robert T. Smith

Son of FDNY Hero Lt. Frank E. Smith

My Father Lt Frank E Smith FDNY lost his life on January 14, 1973 while fighting a 2 alarm fire in Brooklyn. He left behind me, my mom Regina, my brother Kevin, and my two older sisters Carol and Pat. The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund supported us through this time of need and never forgot about us.

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Theresa Giammona

Widow of FDNY Hero Captain Vincent Giammona

The Benefit Fund has not only given us great financial support during the holiday season but they have become a close extended family that we can count on when we need them!

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Carmen Suarez

Widow of NYPD Hero Ramon Suarez

“The Benefit Fund is amazing and I am so grateful for everything that they have done for me since my husband passed away on September 11th. Events that are put together for the families and children are such a beautiful thing because we are able to meet other people and donors and watch the kids have a good time.”

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Cirri Family

Eileen Cirri

Widow of PAPD Hero Lt. Robert Cirri

“The Benefit Fund helped my dream of graduating from Seton Hall School of Law; I had used the money to attend Law School successfully! I am very grateful to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, and I will never forget the donor’s outpouring of such care for us.”

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The Sanchez Family

Elizabeth Sanchez

Widow of NYPD Hero Anthony Sanchez

“My husband, Anthony, was a member of the NYPD. He left behind a six year old son and me. I wondered how I would be able to take care of our son, pay the mortgage and bills, and just get through life without him. But the Benefit Fund helped me do all that.”

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Marie Anaya

Widow of FDNY Hero Calixto Anaya

“I was widowed on 9/11. I have three children ages 15, 18 & 21. The Benefit Fund has been a tremendous help to me and my children, picking up their spirits by running fun events for us and providing financial assistance towards college education.”

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Dorsey-Zapf Family

Mary Ellen Dorsey

Daughter of Catherine Zapf and FDNY Hero George C. Zapf

“I remember when my mom, a FDNY widow since 1955, first received a generous gift from The Benefit Fund. Mom always put herself last when the check arrived.”

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Victor Lee

Widower of EMS Hero Tracy Allen-Lee

“As a male widower, I was doubly afraid that no one would be able to give me the support I’d need. Thankfully, the Benefit Fund immediately put to rest my financial worries.”

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