New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro on Wednesday in saluting the valor of 46 firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, fire marshals and fire officers at Pier 17 at South Street Seaport in Manhattan for FDNY Medal Day.
Medal Day usually falls on the first week of June on the steps of City Hall, but last year’s ceremony was delayed until now because of COVID-19.
Three of the heroic recipients included firefighter John H. McCoy of Squad Company 288; paramedics Niall C. O’Shaughnessy and Joshua S. Rodriguez of EMS Station 4, and Rescue Company 3 firefighter Daniel R. Foley, who received a posthumous award.
“Medal Day recognizes the heroic acts performed by fire officers and firefighters every day throughout the communities we serve,” said UFOA IAFF Local 854 Vice President George Farinacci, who also serves as a captains’ representative.
McCoy received the Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci Medal and the NYS Honorary Fire Chiefs Association Medal for the daring 2019 rescue of a man caught in a Queens warehouse fire after a building explosion.
O’Shaughnessy and Rodriguez provided critical emergency medical care to multiple construction workers who were injured in a 2019 building collapse in Manhattan. The duo received the Christopher J. Prescott Medal for their lifesaving work.
Foley’s family, meanwhile, received the Emerald Society Medal for rescuing two young children from a Bronx fire in 2019. The 46-year-old father of five died last year of 9/11-related pancreatic cancer.
Daniel Foley was the second member from his family to die in service to Rescue Company 3. His firefighting brother Thomas Foley also served valiantly during 9/11 and was among the 343 FDNY members killed on that horrific day nearly 20-years ago.
“These extraordinary acts of bravery are exemplary of the dedication and willingness of the members of this department to risk their lives in protecting the residents of the city,” Farinacci said. “This city owes the Foley family a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Tom lost his life on September 11th. Dan lost his battle with cancer as result of his duties. Awarding this medal posthumously just illustrates the person Dan was as a member of this department.”
Foley’s widow Carrie said she hopes her children continued to be inspired by their daddy’s bravery.
“Danny just wanted to do what Tommy was doing. It wasn’t a question if he’d stay on after 9/11,” she said.
Mayor De Blasio called the honorees the “best of New York City” and was proud to preside over Medal Day, albeit 10 months after its originally scheduled date.
“This doesn’t look like a typical Medal Day,” Hizzoner said. “To me, it looks like something powerful. It means we are coming back. Medal Day is back. New York City is back. We are coming back together.”
Medal Day is truly about recognition, Nigro observed.
“This Medal Day is unique,” the commissioner said. “It is taking place during a pandemic that has taxed every member of our department. We have lost 14 members of our department to this terrible virus. Our families have suffered.”
Despite the isolation and difficulty of the past year, these firefighters never stopped serving the city, the commissioner added.
“Still, you soldiered on and pushed forward,” he said. “You trained. You worked hard. You showed up and you fought to accomplish the department’s lifesaving mission. You’ve done it all while COVID-19 has been all consuming and on your mind on every call. That’s the mark of the FDNY — always going above and beyond to save lives.”