Eleven years ago, Sayville resident and Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) Ladder 165 firefighter Chuck Jones was one of many emergency responders working at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Jones' selfless and heroic actions in the wake of nearly 3,000 lives being lost from the attacks has bought him a tragedy of his own a decade later. This past June, Jones, a father of three, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. In efforts to support his battle, family and friends are hosting a fundraiser at Mulcahy's Pub & Concert Hall in Wantagh this Saturday.
Wantagh resident and captain of Engine Company 317 Edward O'Donnell has worked with Jones for more than two decades, including three months spent digging at the World Trade Center site.
"I know he spent a lot of time down there and that is 100 percent where this came from," O'Donnell said. "So many friends of ours are getting sick. Guys are getting sick and dying from this. It's scary and all we can hope is that the government will support them."
O'Donnell said his primary goal is to alleviate some of the financial burden put on Jones' family in the wake of his diagnosis.
"You want to be there for your kids and you want to be around," O'Donnell said. "Chuck's a great family man. This is just a real shame. We hope we get a good turnout -- a few hundred -- that would be fantastic."
"Chuck is a very dedicated man," said Massapequa resident Mike VanRoten, a colleague of Jones for several years. "Anything you ever need, he'd be there to do it for you. He's an active member of his community, a volunteer firefighter, a great guy. He's always giving to others and I hope people are willing to give back to him now."
A lifelong Long Island resident, Jones has been a volunteer fireman since a young age. His career continued into the New York City Police Department and later the FDNY. All funds raised from Saturday's event will benefit his family of five.
Doors open at 3 p.m. A donation of $60 includes raffles, a live auction, open bar and dinner buffet. For further information or to donate, click here.