FF Walter Luedeke (L120) Feb 2021 FF Luedeke served the City of New York as a firefighter for over 30 years during a time when fire duty was at an all time high, it wasn’t “if” they caught a job that tour it was, when and how many would they respond do that night. FF Luedeke was also a firefighter in the bronx serving in Ladder 55 and Ladder 53 before his retirement in 1988.
Chief Curt Landgrebe- Feb 2021 Chief Landgrebe was a U.S. Air Force veteran before joining the FDNY and serving as both a Lieutenant and Captain in Ladder 120 during the 60’s and 70’s, also known as the War Years due to the immense amount of fire duty and runs the men endured. The current members of Watkins Street had the pleasure and honor of meeting Chief Landgrebe at a recent visit to the firehouse before his passing. There is no doubt he left a lasting impression on us that it is both an honor and a privilege to work on Watkins Street.
Robert West (E231 1969-1982) May 2021
William Laghezza- September 2021 Bill was a proud Marine who served our country in the Korean War. Bill got on the FDNY and was assigned to Long Island City for 2 years before transferring to L108. As if L108 wasn’t busy enough in the 60’s when he saw L120 at the top of the list for Runs and Workers he decided to transfer to Watkins Street. Bill was known as a “hard charger” to say the least.
Deputy Chief Francis Clarke- December 2021 Chief Clarke proudly served our country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Upon his return from service he entered the FDNY, serving for 37 years from 1957-1993. Chief Clarke’s assignments in his career include Engine 210, Battalion 47, Ladder 172, Division 10, Ladder 131, Battalion 44 and the Commander of Division 14.
Deputy Chief Richard Fanning- January 2022 Chief Fanning started his career in the South Bronx during the War Years of the FDNY. He went on to rise through the ranks to Deputy Chief. Always working in busy shops during his 31 year career, DC Fannings assignments included; FF L19, Lt 255, Capt 219, BC 44, and DC Div 3. Known as a vocal member of the UFA and UFOA, he always looked out for the men!
Battalion 44 Commander Orlence “Dan” Orvis- January 2022 Chief Orvis was a WW2 US Navy Veteran before joining the FDNY for a legendary 30 year career, which included fighting fires in Brooklyn through the War Years and being the Battalion 44 Commander(1972-1976). His career was “cut short” and he was forced to retire after a roof collapsed on him during a rescue attempt which left him partially paralyzed on one side of his body. In 2016 Chief Orvis visited Watkins Street with his family to celebrate his 40th year of retirement. He even took a walk down memory lane as he responded in the front seat of the battalion for one last nostalgic trip down pitkin avenue. At the conclusion of a memorable afternoon Chief Orvis left the men with one piece of advice, “Boys, you’re all in a wonderful Job…be good to the job.”
Battalion Chief Harold Coughlin- February 2022 BC Coughlin was a World War II veteran, serving our country as a sergeant in the army before joining the FDNY. He had a historic 40 year career working in all busy shops starting with E280 as a firefighter. He was then promoted to Lieutenant and got the spot in E332 and later became the Captain of E277. Finally he was promoted to Battalion Chief and spent 20 years in the 44th Battalion.
Lt. John Stippell (E232) – April 2022 Lt. Stippell was a firefighter in L26 in Harlem and E264 in the Rockaways before being promoted. After his promotion he made his way to Watkins Street and later the Tin House serving in both E232 and field comm.
Capt. John J. Connolly- April 2022 Captain Connolly served a spectacular 39 years(1957-1996) on the FDNY and was assigned to L120 during the War Years. He was cited for bravery numerous times throughout his career including in 1968 when he was awarded the Emerald Society Medal, Class 3, and firefighter of the month.
Captain Paul Jeter- May 2023 Captain Jetter served the community of Brownsville as the captain of L120 during the height of fire duty, from 1977-1984. One day while in between jobs Captain Jetter was talking with then a fireman in L120 Al Hay( who went on to become Staff Chief). Chief Hay had been an EMT before and they were discussing some symptoms of a heart attack. As the tones went off for yet another job the brothers went out the doors and took care of business as usual at a top floor tenement. After the job Captain Jetter took the bucket down from the top floor due to exhaustion which the men knew was out of character for him. He went on to go to the hospital to get checked out due to the conversation he had earlier with Chief Hay, and sure enough something was wrong. He had a heart attack the doctors informed him. Both grateful he got checked out but upset at the situation he was taken offline. He fought and fought to become full duty again and he got his wish. He was promoted to Chief where he finished his career but he reiterated to those around him, “At the end of the day when it’s all said and done, they always remember where you were The Captain”. He had immense pride that he worked on Watkins Street as the Captain of Ladder 120 and carried it with him wherever he went. They really don’t make them like they used to!