Firefighter Christian Engeldrum
National Guard Sergeant Chris Engeldrum
A firefighter remembered him as the soft-spoken leader who freely
shared know-how at Ladder Co. 61 in Co-op City. A fellow National
Guardsman observed that Christian Engeldrum gave his life for
his country. A family member reflected that their son was perhaps
were some of the thoughts at a private wake yesterday for Engeldrum,
who was killed Nov. 29 during a roadside attack in Baghdad.
Only a few hundred firefighters, family members and friends
showed up at the Schuyler Hill Funeral Home yesterday -- a glimpse
of the thousands who are expected at his funeral tomorrow.
makes you sad going in there," said Ann DiLoreto, a friend
of the family who viewed the open casket with her husband, Ernest.
"You just want to trade places."
39, a firefighter for five years, earned a citation in 2000
for rescuing two people from a fire. He was on his second stint
as a soldier in the Middle East and was the first city employee
to die in the Iraq war. He served as a city police officer before
joining the fire department.
left behind his pregnant wife, Sharon, and two sons, Sean, 18,
and Royce, who turned 16 on the day his father died.
of his family members said, 'You know, you try to instill important
values in your children, and then all of this happens,'"
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said outside the Bronx
chapel. "She said, 'I don't really mean this, but maybe
he was too patriotic.'"
Scoppetta said Engeldrum was determined to serve his country.
"The guys in the firehouse were saying you could not have
talked him out of it," he said. "It's what he wanted
attack killed several other soldiers, including volunteer firefighter
Wilfredo Urbina, of Baldwin. Another New York firefighter, Daniel
Swift, 24, of Ladder Co. 43 in Manhattan, survived the roadside
attack with serious injuries to an eye and leg.
commanding officer at Ladder Co. 61 recalled that one of the
last times he saw him was when he stopped by the firehouse during
a week's leave from training this summer.
was a person who was all soldier," said Lt. Brian Horton.
"He believed in what he was doing, he believed in what
our country stands for and he saw a need to defend it."
wake continues today from 2 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home, 3535
E. Tremont Ave. A requiem Mass will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m.
at St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, 2969 Otis Ave. in the
will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Arlington National Cemetery
in Arlington, Va.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.
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