9/11 civilian hero, Kenneth Cubas, remembered in emotional street-renaming ceremony

By Virginia N. Sherry Staten Island Advance

The street renaming ceremony in West Brighton on Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy of office of Council member Debi Rose)

The street renaming ceremony in West Brighton on Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy of office of Council member Debi Rose)

As the terrorist horror at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan unfolded almost 13 years ago , Tompkinsville-born Kenneth Cubas, 48, sacrificed his life to help others trapped in the burning South Tower.

Cubas, a long-time West Brighton resident, worked on the 97th floor of the WTC South Tower, as a vice president for Fiduciary Trust, in charge of technology acquisitions and management.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, he phoned his wife, mother and brothers, assuring them that he was safe after hijacked planes slammed into the Twin Towers.

“Everything is OK,” Cubas said in a call to his mother, Dorothy, from the base of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center at 9:10 a.m.

Ignoring his own personal safety, this Staten Islander moved on to brave, selfless action at the scene of the unprecedented attacks on U.S. soil.

Kenneth Cubas, Staten Island Advance

Kenneth Cubas, Staten Island Advance

“He went back to help people escape — scared, panicked people in need of a steady hand to safety,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose in a tribute.

“He was not a trained first responder, but respond he did. We, the citizens of Staten Island and of the City of New York will never forget the courageous, selfless acts of Kenneth J. Cubas.”

Cubas died attempting to help others escape from the tower.

The street renaming took place Saturday morning, at the southeast corner of Richmond Terrace and Dongan Street in West Brighton.

SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF KENNETH CUBAS

Kenneth Cubas, a graduate of McKee High School with a degree in computer science from the State University of New York at Potsdam, previously worked for five year as a technology planner for the Bank of New York, and prior to that as a client/server market manager for Digital Equipment Corp. in Manhattan for 10 years.

He was active in his North Shore community, known for his mentoring and volunteer work with Big Brothers of New York City and other organizations, and was a member of Bethel Community Church, Tompkinsville, and Bible Fellowship Church of Staten Island, West Brighton.

“He was always a leader. I learned everything from him,” said his brother, Larry. “He taught me a lot of things, whether it was guidance or how to play basketball.”

Born in Tompkinsville, Cubas moved to West Brighton with his family in 1957.

“He was very gentle, but strong. If he didn’t think you were right, he’d let you know,” his brother said. “He was compassionate, caring and encouraging.”

Cubas was a member of Bethel Community Church, Tompkinsville, and Bible Fellowship Church of Staten Island in West Brighton.

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