“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling."
-Chief Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910
Picture perfect day on 5th Avenue draws a sea of green to both march and watch the 2016 St. Patrick's Day Parade. As become a new tradition after September 11th, 2001, the FDNY remembered their 343 members who were no longer around to join in the march up 5th Avenue. This year was extra heart warming and special; the FDNY Emerald Society honored retired Firefighter Ray Pfeifer, Eng.40, as their Grand Marshal. For the past few years, Ray has faced off with 9/11 cancer numerous times. Each time, he fought and fought harder. In 2015, the Zadroga Act was set to expire, leaving a threat to hundreds who are fighting 9/11 illness to fend for themselves. With the help of The New York City Firefighters Brotherhood Foundation, John Feal and the Feal Good Foundation and Jon Stewart, Ray traveled to DC to lobby politicians to speak face to face with him. The sight alone of a battle-hardened firefighter in a motorized scooter was enough for some to sign on. Ultimately, the team returned to New York City with some victorious news that the Zadroga Act would be extended indefinately; providing care to those who spent countless hours searching for survivors and bringing closure to families that lost their loved ones at the World Trade Center. In January of 2016, Ray Pfeifer was honored by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and presented with the key to the city. Today, he led the Emerald Society as Grand Marshal.