The gift you gave is gonna last forever...
I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery...

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.