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FDNY graduation class includes 3 with links to 9/11

One of the graduates, Probationary Firefighter Brian Sullivan, is the son of Lt. Christopher Sullivan of Ladder 111, who was last seen racing up the stairs inside 1 World Trade Center to help those still trapped inside


From left, When newly-minted FDNY Probationary Firefighters Henry Hinton, Jerome Nedd, Jr., and Brian Sullivan. (FDNY)


By Ellen Moynihan, Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — When newly-minted Probationary Firefighter Jerome Nedd walked across the stage at the Fire Academy’s graduation on Wednesday, he remembered his father and namesake, a chef killed on 9/11 working at Windows on the World restaurant near the top of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

“We played chess a lot together,” Nedd said. “He was a chef, so he cooked a lot. We rode bikes together so we did five-mile, 10-mile bike rides.”

Nedd was 11 years old when his life changed forever as terrorists flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center, killing his father and more than 2,600 others, including 343 city firefighters.

Two decades later, Nedd decided to dedicate his life to becoming a firefighter, honoring those who desperately tried to save his father that fateful day.

“Firefighters went to that building and tried to get them out,” Nedd, 33, told the Daily News. “And those brave heroes that died in that building — I wanted to be like one of them. I wanted to help people too.”

“That was one of the worst days of my life,” he said. “And when somebody loses their home or somebody loses a family member in a fire, that’s one of their worst days and I want to be there for them.”

Nedd was one of three FDNY Academy graduates with links to 9/11 at the ceremony Wednesday at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center .

Another graduate, Probationary Firefighter Brian Sullivan, is the son of Lt. Christopher Sullivan of Ladder 111, who was last seen racing up the stairs inside 1 World Trade Center to help those still trapped inside.

Probationary Firefighter Henry Hinton is following the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both FDNY lieutenants.

His father, also named Henry, worked in Engine 275 and retired from the 1st Battalion a month before 9/11. But, after the terror attacks, he went back to work to help search for survivors at Ground Zero.

Henry’s father died of 9/11-related cancer in 2021.

“It’s big for our family,” Hinton, 35, said of the graduation ceremony. “(It’s a) great day, but also sad. I wish my Dad was here.

“I wish he was here to see this,” he said.

Hinton fondly recalled how he used to go to Engine 275 with his dad. This week, the Southampton resident will show up there as a member of the fire house.

“I went there for the first time on Monday night,” Hinton said. The firehouse was as he remembered it. “A couple of people came up and said ‘Hey, you look familiar. Did your Dad work here?’”

The FDNY welcomed 298 probationary firefighters into the department on Wednesday. Half are people of color, with 30% identifying as Hispanic. Ten women were also in the graduating class.

“We continue to see more women and people of color join this department and demonstrate this job can be done by anyone who is dedicated to become a member of New York’s Bravest,” said Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh .

Kavanagh participated in the class’ Spirit Run, a longstanding tradition in the department in which the graduates run around the academy at the end of 18 weeks of rigorous training in fire suppression, medical response and conducting complicated rescues.

The graduation ceremony kicked off with a video of the probationary class thanking their families for all their support.

The video also led Nedd to remember his father. “I definitely thought about him today,” he said. “There’s just like a full circle moment.”

The audience at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony was better behaved than the audience at an FDNY promotion ceremony last Thursday.

During that event, pro-Trump firefighters booed New York Attorney General Letitia James and screamed “Trump! Trump!” over her launching a fraud prosecution against the former president.

On Sunday, Kavanagh returned to the Christian Cultural Center to apologize for the firefighters’ conduct.

“Not only is the Fire Department the greatest department in the world, it’s also the most professional fire department in the world and we let down that reputation on Thursday,” she said.

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