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Officer Gregg John Froehner


Officer Froehner'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

When terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, Gregg Froehner was there to help. He was there a year ago when an out-of-control elevator carrying a dozen passengers slammed into a tower's ceiling. And he was there Sept. 11 after two hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers. But this time, the Port Authority police officer and member of the emergency service unit never made it out.

"They did their job like they were trained to do," Port Authority Police Sgt. John Gilburn said of Mr. Froehner and 36 other Port Authority officers lost when the Twin Towers collapsed. Gilburn knew Mr. Froehner, 46, of Chester, for more than two decades. The two started with the Port Authority just months apart and worked together for years in the emergency service unit, where Mr. Froehner was a squad leader.

Mr. Froehner, who started in 1979, had specialized training in numerous rescue areas and completed a counterterrorism course in toxic and biological agents in 1995. He also was good with his hands, fellow officers said, and could fix equipment in the field with whatever material might be available. "He was one of those guys everybody wanted to have around," said Gilburn, now assigned to Newark International Airport. "He was a fun-loving guy, easy going. He was a character."

More than a decade ago, Gilburn remembered losing a plaid tie at a Christmas party, one his wife had given him. It wasn't until several years later that he found out what happened to it. "All these years went by and this tie just reappeared -- and he (Mr. Froehner) was wearing it," Gilburn said, laughing. The "tie issue" became a running joke among the friends (and Gilburn's tie eventually got sent back to him).

Port Authority Sgt. Kevin Murphy also worked in the emergency service unit with Mr. Froehner, saying the more experienced officer would pick up his comrades' spirits by telling stories of his former life as a milkman. Mr. Froehner also liked to golf, although as Murphy put it, "Gregg wasn't exactly Tiger Woods." During a summer of 2000 charity golf outing, Murphy said their foursome came to a short hole where the green was on an island surrounded by rocks. Mr. Froehner took out a club that if hit properly would provide far too much distance and made a pronouncement: I'm going to skip the ball on the water three times, hit the rocks and land it on the green. He swung. The ball skipped over the water, hit the rocks and landed on the green, 39 inches from the hole. Murphy and the others went crazy. Mr. Froehner just smiled and walked back to his cart. As for the rest of his round? "Horrible," said Murphy, laughing.

Mr. Froehner is survived by his wife, Mary; a son, Matthew, 13; three daughters, Meghan, 15, Heather, 14, and Kathleen, 10; his parents, Kenneth and Anna Froehner of Chester; a brother, Kenneth Froehner of Pompton Lakes, and a sister, Dorell McNamara of Chester.

Profile by Greg Saitz published in THE STAR-LEDGER.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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