Honoring a fallen 9/11 firefighter

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Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter recently joined alongside friends and family of FDNY firefighter Joseph R. Rivelli Jr. for the memorial street rededication ceremony of Rivelli Way in West Islip. Rivelli was among the many first responders to have heroically paid the ultimate sacrifice on Sept. 11, 2001.

Rivelli was a member of the search-and-rescue team for FDNY Ladder Co. 25 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was one of the first firefighters from his unit to arrive at the World Trade Center. During rescue and evacuation efforts in the South Tower, Rivelli and six others from the FDNY were on an elevator heading to the 40th floor when the building collapsed. 

Rivelli dedicated 18 years of service to the FDNY. He had plans to retire within two years and relocate to Florida to begin a new career as a commercial airline pilot. Outside of his dedicated career as a civil servant, he coached the Inwood Buccaneers football team, who lovingly referred to him as “Coach Joe.” 
“We will never forget the sacrifices made by heroic men and women on that most solemn of days,” said Carpenter. “We dedicate this road in Joseph’s honor and the memory of a man who did not back down in the face of danger, but continued to climb upwards despite it, because that is what his courage and duty demanded. When kids pass by this street corner, maybe they will ask who Joseph was, and it will be a great teaching moment for future generations,” added Carpenter. 

Rivelli grew up in West Islip with his parents and three siblings, and graduated West Islip High school as part of the Class of 1976. Rivelli’s childhood dream was to become a firefighter, a dream he would realize when he joined the FDNY. 

In attendance alongside Carpenter were Rivelli’s father, Joseph R. Rivelli Sr.; stepmother Mae Vasallo; sister Donna Ambrosino and her husband Thomas; brother Michael Rivelli; many of his nieces and nephews; and members of the West Islip Fire Department.

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