The Watkins Street Family gathered to celebrate the life of our good friend, FDNY Lieutenant Robert Alford (E231 Ret) who passed to a higher level as lingering health effects of 9/11 finally took its toll. Lt Alford, who was appointed to the FDNY in 1981, was a highly decorated Fire Officer retiring with honors in 2002 following 21 years of distinguished service to the City of New York.
Bobby Alford was assigned as a Probationary FF to E236 in East New York, one of the busiest (and best) Engine Companies in the City. There, he had the good fortune to learn from future Watkins Street legends (Captain Joe Coniglio and Lt Pete Ioveno), men who would shape his career while becoming life-long mentors and dear friends. After several years, he decided to try his hand at truck work by transferring to L123 on St Johns East where he remained until his promotion to Lieutenant.
Seeking a skilled Fire Officer to fill a vacancy (after conferring with top Lt Pete Ioveno), E231 Captain Joe Coniglio made a direct call to FDNY Headquarters, ultimately reuniting the former 236 trifecta who would team with Lt Bobby Higgins (future 231 Captain) to help mold two decades worth of E231 firefighters. Establishing as a gritty Fire Officer, "The Big Swede" (as he was affectionately called) quickly made a home on Watkins Street and was beloved by all.
On September 11, 2001 Lt Robert Alford took part in the greatest rescue effort our Nation has ever witnessed. An integral part of the Watkins Street Command, he proved a calming influence to the dynamic and high stress situation. In addition to providing key leadership and always getting his hands dirty, he launched "maximum effort" edicts to all members of his unit and accepted nothing less.
Although the effects of 9/11 may have caught up with him, it's a safe bet that he would not change a thing. His was a career of service and one would be hard pressed to find a more aggressive Fire Officer in the City of New York when fire was blowing out the windows...Rest easy big fella....
You've done your share.
"The Tradition Continues...