Wassil among police honored for service, heroism

A Journal News editorial

Police personnel as pallbearers carry the casket of of Charles Wassil, 52, a Peekskill Police Detective and 9/11 responder, on May 4, 2013 at St. Columbanus Church in Cortlandt Manor. (Journal News file photo)

Police personnel as pallbearers carry the casket of of Charles Wassil, 52, a Peekskill Police Detective and 9/11 responder, on May 4, 2013 at St. Columbanus Church in Cortlandt Manor. (Journal News file photo)

Charlie Wassil, who served with the NYPD and retired as a Peekskill police detective, is among the 20 whose names were added to the New York State Police Officers’ Memorial at Empire State Plaza. Those honored include five police officers who died in the line of duty last year and 13 who, like Wassil, passed away from Ground Zero-related illnesses.

This appreciation was originally published on May 3, 2013:

Charles “Charlie” Wassil served his country, and his community, over and again. He was a Marine, an New York Police Department officer and a Peekskill police detective. He responded to Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, and spent a week sifting through debris, hauling buckets of rubble, searching and hoping for survivors. He died Wednesday, at age 52, after a long battle with sarcoidosis. There should be no doubting he is yet another casualty of 9/11.

Wassil retired from the Peekskill force for health-related reasons in 2008. During his years of police work in Peekskill, Wassil was a true crime-solver. He helped provide a break in a “cold case” murder in New York City from information he obtained while questioning a suspect in an unrelated investigation.

He helped bring all manner of burglars, drug dealers, robbers and murderers to justice — and even a bear. In 2008, Wassil used his police cruiser to corner a wandering bear that had gone up a tree. It was all part of serving his hometown; Wassil grew up in Peekskill and was a 1977 Hendrick Hudson High School graduate.

That sense of duty drew Wassil to the command center at Ground Zero the day of the terrorist attacks. Wassil started showing symptoms of sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease, three months after his grim work. It started with coughing, his health deteriorated, and he began experiencing paralysis in 2010. There is a higher-than-normal incidence of sarcoidosis among 9/11 first responders.

Wassil’s death adds to our losses from that day.

We remain humbled by their service, their heroism and their sacrifice.

This entry was posted in 9/11 Community, 9/11 Memorials, Health Issues. Bookmark the permalink.
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