Friends, family and 'brothers' of fallen Malverne firefighter Paul Brady had hoped to celebrate the new year by learning that after years of waiting, rallies and campaigning, Paul's name would finally be placed on a state memorial to honor his legacy.
Brady, 42, died during a while performing his duties as a volunteer firefighter in Malverne on June 30, 2006. He had been working atop a heavy rescue fire truck that day, performing maintenance activities as part of training, when another firefighter, unaware of Brady's presence atop the vehicle, began to drive the truck, causing him to hit a ceiling beam and fall off. Brady suffered serious internal injuries, which led to his death later that day.
The United States Department of Justice and the New York State Workers' Compensation Board determined that Brady died in the line of duty and the latter awarded death benefits to his widow. Brady was honored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Nassau County, but the New York State Fallen Firefighter Memorial Committee refused to add Brady's name to their monument in Albany, denying multiple requests.
However, things were looking up for Brady's supporters in 2011. Both the New York State egislation to place his name on the wall and on Dec. 21 the bill was sent to NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo. If the governor signed his name, Brady's would soon appear on the memorial, but instead, just two days into 2012, the bill was killed.
Gov. Cuomo vetoed the legislation on Jan. 2, and wrote in a memo, "I am sympathetic to the families and colleagues of every firefighter who has died in circumstances that do not make that firefighter eligible for inclusion on the State Memorial Wall, and this was a very difficult decision, but there should not be one set of eligibility criteria for volunteer firefighters and another for paid firefighters."
The news of the governor's veto came as a shock to Brady's family and his fellow firefighters, David Gildea, a spokesman for the Malverne Volunteer Fire Department, told Patch.
"We were very surprised and very disappointed," Gildea said. "We had no reason to believe it wouldn’t be signed considering how it passed [the Legislature] with such great support."
Gildea said he read the governor's brief veto memo, which can be viewed above, but felt it lacked an explanation for why he chose not to support the bill.
"Honestly, I don’t know if there could be [an explanation] that would be acceptable to us," he added. "We know the circumstances and the process and we know what's right...Paul deserves that honor and there appears to be no reason for it to be denied. "
Right now, the "outraged" department is exploring its options, Gildea says, adding, "We are not done fighting. We hope this is rectified."
What do you think of the governor's decision?