Thursday, August 7, 2008
Howard Beach Says Good-Bye to Favorite Son
Community Mourns the Loss of 9/11 Hero
by Patricia Adams
A big strapping guy he was. And as big of a heart went with the bulk of the man named “Buck” by his firefighter brothers for his cooking ability, and “The Rock” by his family for the dedication and strength he had for them.
Kevin Delano passed away on Wednesday July 30th after a battle with leukemia; the disease most believe was brought on due to the time he spent at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Delano was one of the first to arrive at the scene after the buildings collapsed and worked for 40 hours; continuously searching the rubble for any survivors. He wore very little protective gear and never gave a second thought to the potential health risks he was taking by being there amidst the toxic rubble. But that was Kevin Delano—concerned with saving lives not with his own safety.
The career he was so devoted to began in 1971, as soon as he was eligible to join the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department. He worked his way up and was later named Chief of the department. While serving in his volunteer role at West Hamilton, Kevin worked as a member of the US Coast Guard.
After four years with the Coast Guard, Kevin became a federal firefighter and was stationed at Governors Island. There he stayed for the next eleven years when the opportunity came to become an officer for the New York City Transit Police. It was from that position that Kevin Delano waited for the job he had always wanted—to be one of New York’s Bravest.
It was not quite two years later when Kevin Delano’s dream came true. Kevin was “on the job”, starting in Brooklyn at Ladder 146 and then transferred to Ladder 142 in Ozone Park, where he was closer to home. In 1980, Kevin married sweetheart Roseann Panhurst on August 16 at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach.
Four years later the couple welcomed their son Kevin Michael Jr. into the world. Of course Kevin took the same type of an active and dedicated role in raising his son as he did with his job and his family. He went on to coach his son at the Ozone Howard Little League. Always an avid sports fan, he spent much of his spare time teaching his son and nephews how to play ball.
Kevin Delano was retired by the New York City Fire Department and moved with his family from Hamilton Beach to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It was a frustrating time for the fireman who could no longer do what he wanted to do. He was a firefighter who while assigned to the 142 in Ozone Park also put in 40 to 60 hours a week volunteering. Volunteering, he once said, was all about the “feeling you get when you know you have helped someone”.
Delano was an avid golfer and found his enjoyment in the Poconos by golfing regularly, spending time in his pool and sport fishing. But his relaxation and peace was to meet with an unexpected obstacle—after being rushed to a hospital, Delano was diagnosed with leukemia. He battled the disease, experienced a successful remission but was struck again when it returned.
Approximately seven months ago, doctors told Kevin Delano his only hope was a bone marrow transplant. One of his sisters, Patti Fogarty, was a perfect match and acted as a donor. His sister’s stem cells gave Kevin Delano seven more months to live but two weeks ago he was airlifted to Penn State Hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Kevin Delano spent his last two weeks surrounded by family and friends. He was 54 years old and is survived by his wife Roseann; his son Kevin Michael, Jr. (Half-A-Buck); his mother-in-law, brothers: Raymond and Ger- ard and his sisters: Barbara Jean, Loretta, Patti, Cathy, Maureen, Jeananne and Vicky and more than 35 nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, August 4th in Our Lady of Grace Church in Howard Beach. The ceremonial farewell to a beloved brother and friend to the community was marked by the presence of a full honor guard, bagpipes and fire department funeral procession. The procession drove past the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department before heading out for the burial at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
The city of New York has refused to acknowledge the link to Kevin’s death as a result of his heroic actions on 9/11. As a result the family has incurred the tremendous financial burden of medical expenses during Kevin’s battle.
The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations which can be made to Roseann Delano and sent to the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps at Post Office Box 77, Howard Beach, New York 11414.
Above: Hundreds of firefighters, family members and community residents bid farewell to retired Firefighter Kevin Delano who lost his battle with leukemia last week. At left: Kevin Delano stands proud in his dress uniform.
The Forum Newsgroup/top photo by PATRICIA ADAMS. Left photo courtesy of NICK BENEDUCE