Did you ever know that you're my hero...

To remember the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I am taking part in D.C. Roe's 2,996 project. If you recall my earlier post, it is a community blogging project to commemorate the lives of those lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

This post is dedicated to the life of Lieutenant Geoffrey E. Guja, 47, FDNY company BC43, who died in the collapse of the second World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001.

Much of the following information came from The Massapequa Post.

GujaLt. Geoffrey E. Guja was one of a pair of twins born to Doris and Howard Guja of Massapequa, NY. He graduated from Berner High School and went on to attend Harper College in Binghamton, NY. When he was 27 years old, he made a decision that would forever change his life... he joined the New York City Fire Department. In addition to his duties as a firefighter, he was also a registered nurse and an emergency medical technician (EMT). He rose through the ranks of the FDNY and became a lieutenant.

Geoffrey was never one to take life for granted. He always kept an open mind to any new opportunity and was well known for his sense of humor. One story about him told of a prank pulled by his fellow firefighters. They took his locker and managed to suspend it 16 feet above the floor of the firehouse. Instead of getting angry and reactive, he grabbed a ladder, ascended to his locker, and changed his clothes in midair.

One of his great passions was his network of family and friends whom he would regularly bring together for barbecues at a local beach. He was known to send out dozens of invitations at a time.

His own family consisted of his wife, Debbie, and their daughters, Kelly and Jaime, as well as his parents, brothers, sisters, and their families. Not to mention the many firefighters he worked with on a daily basis who became his extended family.

Kids were an important part of his life as Geoffrey was a big kid at heart. He is renowned for playing with kids while dressed up in a bright yellow chicken outfit. "He was bigger than life to the kids," said his brother, Howard. "He never had a bad word to say about anyone and, while the adults would often say he should calm down and relax and act more like a grown up, the kids loved him just the way he was."

Part of the memorial display for Geoffrey included bright yellow flowers laid out to resemble his infamous chicken outfit.

Geoffrey was not on duty at the time that the disaster happened on September 11. In fact, he was recovering from an earlier injury he suffered in the line of duty. When the jets hit the World Trade Center towers, he was on light desk duty in the Brooklyn headquarters of the FDNY.

He immediately jumped on the subway and rushed to the scene and grabbed a turnout coat, pants, boots, and helmet from the Number 10 firehouse across the street from the WTC and headed into the belly of the beast.

Anyone who knew Geoffrey would have expected no less from him. "He always gave everything he had, everything," said his brother, Howard.

The 5-5-5-5 radio dispatch signal is reserved to memorialize those firefighters who fall in the line of duty, serving the good of the people they have sworn to protect. Lt. Geoffrey E. Guja, 47, of Lindenhurst, NY, was the 29th of 343 firefighters who died on September 11 to receive the 5-5-5-5 signal in the days following the attacks.

Being the fan of firefighters that I have been my entire life, I am honored to use my blog to remember Lt. Geoffrey E. Guja.

UPDATE: Due to an excessive amount of visits, D.C. Roe's entire 2,996 site has gone down temporarily. But here is a mirror site listing all the participants in the project. Please do make sure to check them out as they are incredible.

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Comments

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Dragon

Rest in peace, Lieutenant Guja.

Lisa M

Very beautiful tribute.

Cindy Swanson

Thanks for bringing Geoffrey to life for me...you made me feel as if I knew him. Wonderful tribute!

My tribute to Jean Peterson is up on my blog.

Leslee

This is a touching tribute. Thanks for introducing one of 9/11's heroes to me.

BA

Well done Kevin. Well done.

Nicole

Very nice tribute. I wonder if I'm going to be able to get through any of these today without crying? I'm glad that so many bloggers have come together in such a special way to remember.

Foo

What a brave man and a beautiful tribute. Everyone has done an amazing job of putting a face and story to the names. I'm so touched by this project...Thank you for introducing it to Hilly who introduced it to me.

Bre

I tried really really hard, but I was unable to read this without crying. Thank you for doing this tribute. Putting names and faces and memories to September 11th is the only way we can truly remember.

Anomie-Atlanta

This is a beautiful tribute.

imbi

What a remarkable man.
I'm so touched.

Tracy Lynn

Well done, Kevin.

kapgar

Dragon, I agree.

Lisa M, thank you.

Cindy, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate knowing that others got the same feeling I got in writing it.

Leslee, you're welcome, it was my honor to do so.

BA, thanks! Your's is great, too.

Nicole, it's not an easy thing to read ever.

Foo, you're welcome. I'm glad this project was so well received. D.C. did a great job with it.

Bre, I agree. It is the only effective way to remember.

Anomie-Atlanta, thanks.

imbi, it was not an easy thing to write, either.

Tracy Lynn, thanks.

kilax

Wonderful tribute Kevin :)

kilax

Wonderful tribute Kevin :)

Krystn

What a beautiful tribute, thanks for posting it.

I also have a tribute http://scrappyydoodah.blogspot.com

SJ

Beautiful tribute to a true hero. I'm glad he lived such a full and happy life in the time he had.

Hilly

Beautiful tribute for a beautiful and brave person. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I hope he is resting in peace.

kapgar

Kilax, thanks.

Krystn, thanks. And your's is a wonderful tribute as well.

SJ, as I'm sure his family and friends are.

Hilly, I'm sure he is as he certainly deserves it.

Elaine

Kevin, that was really wonderful. So many of us remember that many people lost their lives that day but it helps to see the people in an individual light. Very moving!

sandra

Well-done. Having left NYC yesterday, and having watched a documentary on HBO about 9/11, I'd decided that I wasn't turning on the TV today (on overload) -- but this...well, I'll stick with well-done.

claire

Thanks, Kevin. This is a fitting memorial for the day, and honestly, I'm relieved there's no photo of the towers getting hit here.

Bec

I'm sitting here welling up, each and every tribute has tears rolling down my face - just beautiful...

kapgar

Elaine, a good day of reading these will really get to you. I've seen tributes before, but, I agree with you, the personalization really makes all the difference.

Sandra, thanks. I agree on the overload factor, but this project has definitely made the day worthwhile.

Claire, no photos of the towers here. This is a tribute to Geoff Guja exclusively.

Bec, it's hard to not well up.

jenny

Really lovely tribute, kevin. Well done!

I'm wondering if the official site has been overloaded, though, because I keep getting errors when I try to link to it - I'm glad some of the other bloggers are linking to theirs in the comments sections.

kapgar

Jenny, yeah it did go down. But here's a mirror listing of all the participants. May not be entirely up to date in terms of direct links to the specific posts, but it will at least get you to their homepage...

Chanakin

Nicely done, Kevin.

I'm glad you got to salute a firefighter.

Raggedy

Wonderful Tribute!
Thank you.
These are heartbreaking stories and difficult to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...

The 2996 link is down. I have a new link on my site to view the participants.

Bless you...

kapgar

Chanakin, all things considered, it is rather perfect that it worked out that way, isn't it?

Raggedy, I posted a link to a mirror site listing all the participants as well. I hope it finds some readers still participating as opposed to becoming frustrated. They are heartbreaking and difficult to read. But still incredibly moving and inspiring.

sheryl

You are so right with your comment on my site. I know all firefighters consider themselves brothers, but they could actually be related, going by looks.

Such a lovely tribute, Kevin.

Jacynth

What a great tribute, Kevin. Thanks for doing this, I think we all needed it.

kapgar

Sheryl, I told you they look related. Thanks for the compliment, too.

Jacynth, I agree. It was needed. As difficult as it may have been to write and as doubtful as I was about the end result. The posting and feedback received have made it all worthwhile.

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