“The current members of Watkins Street would like to express our gratitude to all the members who have worked before us. For it is their dogged determination and commitment to excellence on which our very traditions are grounded.”
The FDNY welcomes the newest vessel to the Fleet, “The William M. Feehan” which honors one of the greatest leaders this Department has ever known. As First Deputy Fire Commissioner on September 11, 2001, “Chief” Feehan was an integral part of the FDNY leadership staged near the base of the WTC, helping to direct the greatest rescue mission ever witnessed on United States soil. A “Fireman’s fireman”, his final act was simply doing what he loved, which was helping people.
An FDNY lifer who held every single rank within the Department, having a vessel named in his honor is a fitting tribute to a very good man. The FDNY fireboat “William M. Feehan” (built with recovered steel from the WTC) will forever be a welcomed sight as it pounds its way through our treacherous waters answering the call.
God Bless Our 343 – We Will Never Forget
Watkins Street salutes FDNY War Years legend, BC Larry Lee who recently passed to a higher level. A true Patriot who served in the United States Navy during WWII, Larry was appointed to the FDNY in 1947 (retiring in 1990) following 43 years of distinguished service to the City of New York.
As a Lieutenant, in both E231 and L120 he worked on Watkins Street during the height of the busiest years of fire duty the FDNY and Brownsville has ever seen. An exceptional Chief Officer (Bn35), he was both teacher and mentor to some of the highest ranking Staff Chiefs who would go on to lead the FDNY following the attacks of September 11, 2001. At the Ladder 120 Centennial in 2005, then Chief of Department Peter Hayden noted during his closing remarks, “Larry Lee was as fine a Fire Officer as you could ever find; we used to call him THOROUGH-LEE!”
The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 thank Larry for doing his part helping establish the fine reputation our FDNY enjoys today. A member of “The Greatest Generation”, he was a Watkins Street Hall of Famer whose presence will be felt within our firehouse for generations to come.
“The Tradition Continues…
The Officers & Members of E231/L120/Bn44 congratulate FDNY Captain William Gallagher (L169) on his retirement after 33 years of dedicated service to the City of New York.
Affectionately known as “Billy G”, Captain Gallagher was appointed to the FDNY on August 3, 1985 and assigned to E231 where he was fortunate to work under Watkins Street legends Captain Joe Coniglio, Lt Eddie Ireland, and Lt Pete Ioveno. Upon transferring to L120, he would learn the tricks of the trade from the great Tom Cleary (RIP) and Lt Pete McGreevey, (whose painted Gr #18 has been immortalized on the apparatus doors for eternity). A career Brooklyn fireman, after being promoted to Lieutenant, he landed at “Da Pride” as an Officer in L147 and was part of the FDNY Incident Management Team and later, FLSTP. The recipient of the M.J. Delehanty Medal at the 2010 FDNY Medal Day, Captain Gallagher’s proudest moment was being named Company Commander of L169 where he took immense pride in training, forwarding the traditions of The Job, and passing along the many lessons learned from his early days in Brownsville.
Many times “the life of the party” and a true character in the firehouse kitchen, “Billy G” departs the FDNY as a friend to all and a guy who made The Job better by sharing all he could.
We would like to send a tip of the helmet to all the Veterans who have defended our freedom in our Nation’s History. Watkins Street has been (and continues to be) called home to many of these brave men. These are the people we look up to and will forever admire.
“The Tradition Continues…
Watkins Street members past and present salute the legendary career of BC Richie Portello, an “old school” FDNY Chief who always shared his experience and strived to make us better firefighters over 30 years of dedicated service to the City of New York.
Richie Portello began his career as a Probationary FF in 1985, assigned to L118 before transferring to Engine 214 , The Nuthouse. After doing his time in the Engine, he landed at Sheffield Ave (L103), learning from many of the War Years veterans. He was promoted to Lieutenant, and moved to SOC (Squad 41), where he took part in the greatest rescue effort in United States history on Sept 11, 2001. As Captain, he was the Commanding Officer of Squad 1. His final promotion was to the rank of Chief Officer, hanging his hat at Watkins Street, assigned to Bn44. His final stop was a UFO spot in the Rescue Battalion. A true ghetto fireman who always enjoyed chasing fire, Richie was as an FDNY lifer, cited for bravery on numerous occasions and a guy who simply made those around him better.
Having a great knack for instilling confidence while preaching preparedness, Chief Portello’s dedication to the new members and impact to The Job will be felt for decades to come. He did his part.
“The Tradition Continues…
Watkins Street wishes good luck to local product Steven Matz and the NY Mets who begin their quest for a World Championship in the World Series tonight. The Matz family is no stranger to service as Steven’s grandfather Bert Moller remains an active member of the Commack Fire Department Ambulance working as a dispatcher. Steven (who was also a High School baseball teammate of L120 Lt Bill Rodgers son Patrick at Ward Melville High School) is sure to have a cheering section from the Brownsville kitchen at 107 Watkins Street. Good luck Steven!
The FDNY family solemnly gathered at the Firemen’s Monument on Riverside Drive for the 108th annual Memorial Day services as we paid tribute and honor our fallen Brothers. Their sacrifice will always be at the forefront of our mission. May God continue to bless the FDNY.