When I visited my grandmother’s house in Staten Island, NY during the summers, I got to know some of my cousins’ friends. Steve Huczko hung out with my cousin Bill and his younger brother was my cousin Tom’s best friend.
I forgot about them until September 11, 2001 when I read the names of the police officers and firefighters killed in the attack.
Steve Huczko had grown up to be a Port Authority police officer, registered nurse, and certified EMT. He was the the Port Authority of NY and NJ’s headquarters in Jersey City when the attack began. From his obituary:
Officer Huczko, 44, of Hampton, N.J., was at the Port Authority’s Jersey City headquarters on the morning of Sept. 11. He was among those who rushed to help with the rescue effort. Officer Huczko’s plan was to retire in five years and start a second career as a nurse. “He could never sit still,” Mrs. Huczko said. “It was the idea of continuing to help people.”
He was killed when the North Tower collapsed. His body was found in the lobby a mere 24 inches from the exit door along with four other Port Authority officers who were attempting to free a woman strapped to a rescue chair.
Steve’s younger brother Richie was an engineer who had trained at the NY Maritime Academy. He wasn’t killed in the 9/11 attack but died from a terrorist ambush in Iraq in 2004. He was working for General Electric who was under contract to rebuild the Iraqi electrical infrastructure.
I can only imagine the pain that their families went through at the time. For a mother to lose not one but two sons to Islamic terrorists is almost beyond comprehension. I hope that time has allowed their families to heal.
Rest in peace, Steve and Richie.