By Jon Weinstein NY1
There was a special moment of holiday cheer Sunday for the family members of fallen firefighters, as the Uniformed Firefighters Association held their annual Widows and Children’s Holiday Party at Toys R Us in Times Square. NY1’s Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The mood was festive at the annual UFA holiday party Sunday, but the message might’ve been most important.
“It’s special for my son to see that the Fire Department still stands behind us even after we’ve lost his dad, and my husband, to 9/11-related cancer,” said one attendee.
More than 200 families of fallen members of the New York City Fire Department gathered for the annual party.
“This event is really making me smile today, which is something that I’ve struggled to do over the course of the last year, and I think the boys are really enjoying themselves,” said one attendee.
“It’s about family coming together. It’s about old friends being there. It’s about firefighters showing once again how much they care for the families of their fallen brothers. It’s about love,” said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
Each year, for more than a decade, these families have come together at the Toys R Us in Times Square. There are gift certificates, free toys and food, and it all adds up to fun.
Jack McNamara’s father died of cancer related to the September 11th attacks. Jack was looking high and low for the star of the show, Santa Claus. Eventually, he did find him.
“I’m happy because I knew that he was hiding in the basement and I saw him come out of the basement,” he said.
It’s reactions like that, and the looks on the kids’ faces when they meet Santa that makes this a can’t miss event for these families every year.
“Well, this is a kid’s greatest dream, to come to a toy store by themselves and to have the whole thing to wander around,” said one person.
“This is how we send that message out, to all these families that are here, that we are taking care of them, we will never forget them,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
It’s a sentiment that they say is particularly important this time of year.