Plainview firefighter Danny Levy could not stay away from Ground Zero. People needed help, firefighters needed assistance. Beginning on the day after the on the World Trade Center, he was there.
At his heart-wrenching funeral service Wednesday, Capt. Levy's wife said he do it again without hesitation.
"He told me that if before 9/11 he knew he would have gotten so sick, he still would have done it," said Rachel Levy. "You know, firefighters are crazy people. They run into burning buildings when others run out."
The 200 people in attendance at Gutterman's Funeral Chapel in Woodbury chuckled knowingly at the remark in a service otherwise shrouded by a profound sense of loss.
Levy died this week after a 6-year battle with cancer related to his extensive work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Levy was afforded full departmental honors Wednesday in a procession from Plainview Fire Headquarters to the chapel on Jericho Turnpike. There, to the sound of bagpipes, a large contingent of Plainview and other area firefighters offered a dress salute to Capt. Levy.
Following the service, his flag-draped casket was borne on the back of Plainview antique fire engine to Wellwood Cemetery in East Farmingdale.
His passing is considered a line-of-duty death.
"Ex-Captain Levy answered his last alarm this past Monday morning and will be sorely missed by his family within the Plainview Fire Department," said Plainview Chief of Department Ross Dubner.
Levy, a veteran of the Israeli military, joined the fire department in August 1999 as a fire medic and shortly switched from being a medic to train as a firefighter. Dubner said Levy was "eager to learn, and his natural leadership skills ...pointed him towards a path of becoming an officer within the department."
The ex-captain and Life Member became a lieutenant of Engine Company 1 (stationed at headquarters on Old Country Road) in 2002 and rose through the ranks until becoming captain in 2004.
Let Patch save you time. Get local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Levy "volunteered many days at Ground Zero with thousands of other men and women, and sometime after, became ill as a result of his time spent in lower Manhattan," Dubner said.
"Despite his illness, Danny could often be found in the firehouse with a big smile, catching up on recent events, and was always seen with his custom decorated cane designed with a fire motif."
Rachel Levy described a recent visit with his brother firefighters at their annual holiday party. "I was mad at him for drinking," she said. "But I realized he just wanted to have a few shots with the guys for one last time."
Rachel thanked God for being able to hold her husband as he died. "He fought to stay strong, more for us rather than himself," she said. "He was always there for other people. He was selfless; an amazing soul."
"Daddy, I love you more than words can say," added his daughter, Stav. "We are here to say goodbye to you but you will always be with us. There is a hole in my heart."
Capt. Levy is survived by his wife, Rachel and their two daughters, Dee & Stav. Several relatives, including his brother, flew in from Israel to attend and also spoke lovingly of the fallen fire captain.