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Heroes of Ground Zero

In Their Words:

Vinnie Sainato

Well, even though we you know, we knew it was him, but they had to DNA him; they had to verify. You know, just to be sure. Better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to notify the family and say 'listen, you know, we found Vernon.' Meanwhile, it could be somebody else that was wearing Vernon's gear. Who knows? So they wanted to be safe and identify him and then so we had the memorial for him. And then in July, early July, we had his funeral, which was great, a great turn out. It was good; it was really nice, you know, it brought closure to the family. And the nice thing is that they buried Joey, Pete, and Vernon all together in three plots next to each other in the cemetery so I guess they'll be there, they'll be together forever. That was nice.

Stress. Stress is when you come to the firehouse and come into the kitchen and you see pictures, and you see this and you see that. And then every little thing reminds you of one of the guys that weren't here. For example, we were talking about guys that had transferred from the engine to the truck, and Joey was one of them. And, I don't know, every day the battalion calls and they need a tillerman to drive the back and all the guys that passed, they were all tillerman qualified. So every day, every day there's something that reminds you of these guys. Like one eighteen's rig, you know, wasn't performing at a hundred percent, we had to send it to the shops. Meanwhile we never had to do that because we had Leon who was a mechanic. The guy had this thing running a hundred percent every day. He would come in and he would call it his baby; he would get on, slide underneath the truck, fix it, spend his whole day in there. We'd call him for the meal, the meal is ready, he'd be like 'yeah I'll be there later,' because he wanted to finish fixing his rig. You know, this was his baby, this totally... He was good.

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