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Firefighter Gregory Stajk

Ladder 13

Firefighter Stajk's Act of Heroism

Over 400 first responders lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Heroically performing their sworn duty, these firefighters, members of the NYPD and PAPD, and numerous other rescue workers will forever be remembered for their sacrifice.

My Hero

He died while responding to the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center.


As a student at C. W. Post on Long Island, Gregory Stajk dreamed of becoming a major league pitcher. He went further than most, landing a couple of tryouts, but did not make a team. Instead, Mr. Stajk, 46, the nephew of a firefighter, fulfilled another boyhood ambition, and would have celebrated his 20th anniversary with the Fire Department of New York early next year.

"He used to say, `I could retire but Mom, I love my job,'"said his mother, Marge Stajk.

A bachelor, Mr. Stajk had an oceanfront condo in Long Beach, on Long Island, and often went cycling and running on the Boardwalk. He was also a trivia buff and a caricaturist. "There are not a lot of people in this world who have as many passions as my brother," said a sister, Jean Somerville.

Mr. Stajk, who was called Bro around the firehouse, always worked on holidays, his family said, so that firefighters with children could have the day off.

And unlike many single people, Mr. Stajk did not mind cooking for himself, his mother said. On Sept. 10, she could tell from a receipt lying on his kitchen counter, he made himself a beef stew. Enough for the next night's meal was in the refrigerator.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 1, 2001.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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