Retired Emergency Manís Association
September 10, 2006
To all members,
Captain Barry Galfano, ESU, is nearing the end of his terminal leave and is an active REMA member. He has asked me to send this out to everyone in the ESU family, as well as to our REMA family. I read the message and, knowing Barry, realize that every word came straight from the heart. His eloquence only reiterates what we already feel. My thanks go out to him for deciding to share these sentiments with us and putting into words another example of something I like to call the "E-Spirit".
You can reach Barry at: INFINI2000@aol.com
To: All ESU Personnel
Subject: Thank You
As we remember our fallen comrades on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, it is a good time for all of us to reflect on what it means to be an E-Man. In the five years that have passed since that fateful day, ESU has ridden a roller coaster of ups and downs that brought us from the deepest depths of despair and sorrow, to the camaraderie and esprit de corps that developed from completing a difficult and painful mission at the WTC. The Emergency Service Unit was a model for the rest of the department to admire.
9/11 changed all of our lives forever, but we must never forget our fallen members and their families who lost the most on that day. While most of us carry some scars from this event, it is the families of our Heroes that sacrificed the most. As new members join the ESU family and old members retire, it is important to accept the responsibility of carrying the torch and ensuring that our Heroes are Never Forgotten! Even if you never met any of these great men, being an E-man is a fraternity that unites us all forever. Donít let the fact that you may have been assigned elsewhere during 9/11 make you feel detached from the responsibility to keep their names alive and their families close to our hearts.
As I begin to get close to my retirement from the NYPD and the Emergency Service Unit, my pride in being a Captain in the Emergency Service Unit has only grown stronger. On 9/11 and the 9 months following at Ground Zero, I realized that ESU was a place that I was destined to be. The men and women of ESU were the most courageous, most professional, and best trained people in the world. You handled the worst attack on our soil with poise, skill, and compassion that was unprecedented. Despite losing 14 of our best men and battling exhaustion, stress, fear, and the undetermined dangerous contaminants and environment, you never wavered in your resolve to search for every person lost in that attack until there was nothing left to recover. You risked your lives, your health, and your sanity to complete the mission. I knew then that I was where I wanted to be until I eventually retired or died. I was in ESU and there was no other place for me to be. I didnít want a promotion to D.I. My promotion was being assigned to
ESU and working with the best men and women in the world. So when someone decided that I should be transferred to another command, he didnít understand what it meant to me, to be an E-Man. He never had my experience, he never felt my honor, and he never had my privilege to work with the best of the best. So I had a choice to make. Accept the transfer and eventually retire from another unit, or put in my papers and eventually retire from ESU. Even though I wasnít ready to retire, I knew I had to retire as an E-Man.
For the future of ESU, it is important that you keep the traditions and values of ESU alive. Donít accept mediocrity when perfection is the standard required. ESU is the ďbest of the bestĒ and donít let anyone lower your standards to save time, money, or manpower. You must always strive to improve standards, training, equipment, personnel and morale. Donít let anyone divide and conquer the unit and pit squad against squad, or truck against truck. You must stand together especially in difficult times and support each other. You are on the front line of the ďwar on terrorismĒ. You need to stay focused, stay strong, and stay united in the mission. Things changed drastically on 9/11/01, and the enemy is not going to quit. They will look for weaknesses in our defense and use them against us. You canít afford to let your guard down and think you are ever safe. The enemy will capitalize on this. That is why it is important to keep morale high and work together to maintain training proficiencies, keep standards high, and never settle for second best. Too many people in the NYPD and New York City depend on you to protect them.
You must never forget our members who were lost and their families. They are the foundation of our ESU family. Keep them alive in your memories and your thoughts, and make them proud of you everyday. Being an E-Man is an honor and a privilege that should be respected. I know it was an honor and a privilege for me to serve in the Emergency Service Unit.
So in closing, I want to thank everyone in ESU for the opportunity to have worked with you all, and I wish you continued success in your careers and good health and safety in your lives.
God Bless ESU and God Bless America!
Captain Barry Galfano