BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
It was a week for persistent hope and the first stages of mourning as some Queens families continued to circulate flyers of their missing loved ones, and others watched those they had lost to terrorism be laid to rest.
On Borough President Claire Shulman’s schedule for this week were three funerals . . . one on Sept. 19 and two to follow over next two days. Her office told the Tribune that she is determined to attend all the funerals of those who were taken from her borough when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
On Sept. 19, Shulman attended the funeral of 46-year-old Fire Department Captain Walter Hynes of Ladder Company 13 in Manhattan. A member of the Department since 1979, his funeral mass was at St. Francis DeSales Church in Belle Harbor. Hynes is survived by his wife, Veronica, his children, Caitlin, 12, Kerry, 11, and Deirdre, 8.
On Sept. 20th, Shulman was scheduled to attend the funeral of 10-year Firefighter Lawrence Virgilio of Manhattan’s Squad 18. The Sunnyside resident was 38 years old, and his funeral was held at St. Sebastian’s Church in Woodside at 3 p.m. While responding to the Twin Towers attack, Virgilio called Abigail Francis, his girlfriend of six years, and left her a message. “He told me he loved me,” she said. They lived together in a house in Sunnyside and every morning he woke her up with a kiss. Virgilio, who was also a ballet dancer, loved animals, and saved a kitten from a fire days before his death. A graduate of Queens College and of New York University, Virgilio is survived by his mother Lucy in Woodside, his older brother Thomas, who lives in Paris, and an older sister, Toni Nicko, in New Jersey.
On Sept.21, Shulman planned on attending Lieutenant Michael Warchola’s funeral, a Fire Department officer from Manhattan’s Ladder Company 5. His farewell mass was scheduled for 10:45 a.m. at Resurrection Ascension Church in Woodhaven.
Already, several other Queens residents have been confirmed lost. Many others are still missing. These are just a few stories. There are many more to come.
Queens Pastry Chef Lost
Norberto Hernandez, a pastry chef from Elmhurst, was an employee of Windows on the World restaurant at the top of Tower One, and had been missing since the attack. According to his family, rescue workers found Hernandez’s body several days after the collapse. He was 42, married for 25 years and the father of three children.
Police Rescue Unit 10 Loses Three, Missing Five
The air hangs heavy at the headquarters of Emergency Service Unit 10 in Flushing. Eight members of the unit were missing after the World Trade Center attack. Three have been found, but not the way the unit hoped.
Loss Of A Hero
Queens was forced to say goodbye to Police Officer Brian McDonnell, a member of Emergency Service Unit 10 in Flushing, following the World Trade Center disaster. McDonnell truly loved helping people.
His comrades told the Tribune that McDonnell was one of the first men at the scene of the World Trade Center attack. In his 15-year NYPD career, he talked more than one man “down” to stop them from committing suicide. He pulled drowning people from the East River and helped lasso a 500-pound calf.
So many of McDonnell’s rescues were heroic, yet he was thrust into the spotlight by a “small” rescue when he saved a cat who had managed to squeeze into the engine compartment of a car in Flushing.
“For a cat, I get remembered,” he said.
Benefits Lead To Loss
He started out as an electrician, but Police Officer Paul Talty joined the NYPD because of the job’s benefits, which were “very necessary” for his three kids. He knew if anything ever happened to him, his family would receive financial support and “love” through his fellow ESU officers.
Cop Loved To Get Down And Dirty
He never shyed away from a job, no matter how dirty, menial, boring, or dangerous it was. Fellow cops recall seeing Officer Thomas Langone helping two women on a World Trade Center staircase on their way to the street. He was excited to be “in the middle” of things at a place where he could make a difference.
A Family Loses Hope
A memorial mass was held for Bayside resident Alphonse Niedermayer on Sept. 18th, a man who worked in the Trade Center. Rescue workers have still not found Niedermayer’s body, but his family has accepted what seems to be a growing reality that he will not be found alive.
Still Missing From Queens
While the nation mourns its losses, these Queens residents still have hope.
Rescue Company Four Struck Again
Still reeling from the loss of two fellow firefighters in an Astoria hardware store last June, firefighters at Queens Rescue 4 must now find a way to cope with the unknown fate of 25 firefighters and four officers missing since the World Trade Center attack.
So far, Lieutenant Thomas Williams and Firefighter Peter McLaughlin both were found by rescue workers after being buried and killed by debris from the collapsing Twin Towers on September 11th. A comrade said of Williams, “Tom Williams had the greatest smile.” He added, “And Peter, ah Peter. He lit the place up . . . God bless them.”
Two Port Authority Employees Missing
The Port Authority announced on September 19th that James Parham of Jackson Heights and Anthony Savas of Astoria are two of the many employees missing since the collapse of the Twin Towers.
One-Time Altar Boy Missing
Thomas “Tommy” J. Ashton was trying to jumpstart his life when he joined Local 3 to become an electrician. Now Ashton, 21, is among the missing in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
When Ashton joined Local 3, he started an apprenticeship in midtown Manhattan to become an electrician. He got transferred to the World Trade Center the day before the disaster.
It is not known where Ashton was in the building at the time of the attack. His family tried to page him and call his cell phone, but they didn’t get a chance to speak to him.
Ashton attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn for three years, but he left to join Local 3. He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and attended St. Sebastian’s grammar school were he was an altar boy.
Among the hopefuls that wish his return are his father John, who works for New York Housing Authority in Long Island City, his sisters Colleen, 25, and Mary, 18. There is also his girlfriend Jackie Crilley, 22, his sweetheart from his grammar school days.
Guyana-Born US Cricketer Missing
The relatives and friends of Commonwealth Cricket League captain Nezam Hafiz are continuing their search for him following Tuesday’s tragedy when the World Trade Center, where he worked, was demolished by terrorists’ attacks.
Relatives said that Hafiz left for work at Re Solutions International, which was situated, on the 92nd floor of Tower 1.
The American Cricket Society cricketer was reportedly last seen at 8:15 a.m. on September 11, half-an-hour before the first plane struck the first tower. He has not been heard from since.
Hafiz played for Guyana and for the US since his migration.
Anyone who has any information on Hafiz’s whereabouts is urged to call 641-5785.
Elevator Operator Missing
Flushing resident Steven Strauss, an employee of Petrocelli Electric, has been missing since the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, but his family and friends continue to pray for his safe return according to an e-mail sent to the Tribune by a close friend of the Strauss family.
Prior to the tragedy, Steven Strauss was a member of the electrical crew that maintained the elevators inside the Twin Towers, and it is believed that he was in one of the buildings when the terrorist attack occurred.
Steven Strauss lived in Electchester Towers with his wife, Jean.
Desperate Search For Cantor Fitzgerald Employee
Joseph Eacobacci, a 26-year-old Fresh Meadows resident, has been missing since the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, and his family and friends are desperately searching for any information available on his whereabouts.
According to an e-mail sent to the Tribune by Eacobacci’s family and friends, “Joey” is an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, a company located on the 105th floor of Tower One. He is “a wonderful person, much loved by his family and friends.”
If anyone has any information on Eacobacci, please call 454-9618.
Anthony Luparello of Corona was on the 101st floor of Tower Two and managed to talk on the phone three times with his wife before he joined thousands on the missing list.
Luparello, 62, worked as a maintenance worker for ABM for 14 years and he loved his job and the people he worked with, according to his daughter Geraldine Canilas, 35.
“We have been passing out fliers. We’re hoping to get news,” said Canilas.
Luparello had survived the initial terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Anthony Luparello came from Italy when he was a teenager. He is survived by his wife Geraldine, his daughters, Maria, 39, and Geraldine Canilas, 35, and his son Anthony Jr.
A 13-Year-Old Waits For Her Hero To Be Found
The wave of grief from the World Trade Center attack has spread to a town in Nevada, where 13-year-old Chantyl Peterson is waiting for a call that will her the man who saved her life is okay.
The man is Rescue 4 Firefighter Terrence Farrell, who in 1993 donated his bone marrow to cure the T-cell lymphoma that was rapidly taking her life.
Peterson visited Farrell in 1994, taking a ride in the Rescue 4 truck and lunching with her “hero” on the 87th floor of the World Trade Center.
So now Peterson, like Farrell’s wife and family, waits and prays for what seems impossible: that her hero will come back from the rubble.
19 Maspeth Firefighters Missing
With hope and heartbreak etched on their faces, firefighters at Queens Hazardous Material Engine Company 288 joined neighbors and friends outside their Maspeth headquarters on September 16th during a prayer vigil for 19 of their comrades who have not yet returned from the site of the World Trade Center attack.
A stunning symbol of the tragedy lies within the house – rows of clothing and 19 pairs of shoes lined up and waiting for their owners to claim them. Firefighters left the items behind when they changed into their work gears, headed towards lower Manhattan.
Trinidad Immigrant Missing
Richmond Hill resident Paula Morales has been missing since the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, and friends hope information on her location and state will be available soon. Morales, originally from Trinidad, worked for Aon, a company located on the 100th Floor of Tower Two. If anyone has seen her, or knows of her whereabouts, please call 323-0621.
In The Tribune Mail…
Looking For David Tiru And Frankie Irizzary
Hi, I am so worried about everyone out there, but I have two special little friends, and I was wondering if they are o.k.
David Tiru, he should be 13 or 14 by now, and Frankie Irizarry, same age, the are cousins. Frankie is from Brooklyn, and David, Queens. I am so hoping and praying they are o.k. I love them. They stayed with me last summer for a week thru church and I miss them, so much. Is there any way you can let me know if my little buddys are doing fine? Well, please let me know if it’s possible. Thank you, lyn
E-mailed by Lyn Rodriguez
Looking For Jess & Jeff Vulton
I live in Virginia but the man I love lives in NYC – Queens to be exact and I got an instant message Tuesday night saying that he and his brother had been at the WTC and were missing – a day or so later I got another instant message saying they had found the brother’s body but my love was still missing – then on the 14th I got another instant message saying that they had received a wire saying he was in a hospital – she never mentioned which one – and that his mom and her were on their way to make sure it was him. I haven’t heard anything since. I don’t have long distance on my phone so I am unable to call the list of hospitals that have been given on various web sites. And so far neither of their names have come up on any lists. I was wondering if someone could help me out. They both live in Queens. Their names are Jess and Jeff (could be Jeffrey) Vulton. I would greatly appreciate this since I am going out of my mind with worry.
E-mailed by Liz Monroe
Please notify the Tribune if you have been missing someone since the Twin Towers came down.
E-mail email@example.com or fax to 357-9417. The Tribune would also like to pay tribute to those Queens neighbors lost in the Towers tragedy and we ask that you send information on those you have lost to the same address.