Beach 116th Firehouse Honors FF Casey Skudin

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The skies cleared up on the evening of Monday, June 27 just in time for the community to gather in front of firehouse Engine 268/ Ladder 137 on Beach 116th Street, for a candlelight vigil where fellow firefighters were mourning the loss of one of their own. Candles were lit in memory of the late Ladder 137 Firefighter Casey Skudin.

Last week, funeral and memorial services took place near and across Long Beach, where Skudin had lived. On June 17, while on vacation with his family in North Carolina, an unimaginable tragedy occurred when a tree limb fell on top of the family car, killing Skudin instantly. It was two days before his 46th birthday on Father’s Day. Skudin left behind his wife, Angela, and his two sons, Ben and CJ. A wake was held in Oceanside last Thursday and the FDNY held a funeral service on Friday, June 24. On Sunday, June 26, Skudin Surf led the Long Beach community in a memorial paddle out in Lido Beach.

While Skudin called Long Beach home, as a member of the FDNY for 16 years, spending most of his career at Ladder 137 in Rockaway, Skudin also found a home within the peninsula. On Monday, Councilwoman Joann Ariola organized a candlelight vigil in memory of Skudin for the community and his fellow firefighters.

Each guest was given a candle that they lit with the help of their neighbors. “The flame of a candle symbolizes remembrance. As we light these candles in memory of Firefighter Skudin, let us do so with gratitude, that he lived, that he shared with us his life for a time,” Councilwoman Ariola said.

Monsignor Richard Ahlemeyer of St. Camillus was then welcomed to lead a prayer. “We pause today as he returns to You and we pray for the consolation and the solace that can be given to his family, his family of blood and his family here in the firehouse. May he be welcomed by all the angels and saints into that promised kingdom which he so richly deserved,” Msgr. Ahlemeyer said.

Before reading a poem called “Heaven’s Doorway,” Councilwoman Ariola said, “We remember the courage he had to become a firefighter and to serve the people of New York City and his bravery as he went to work each day facing the unknown. Tonight, we pray for Firefighter Skudin’s family, his wife and his two children, and tonight we pray for his FDNY family who bravely serve our community as they mourn their friend and their brother. Firefighter Skudin left this world way too young and way too soon. We are left with unanswered questions and sadness.”

Lieutenant Mario Polit, a fellow Engine 268/ Ladder 137 firefighter and Long Beach resident, was asked to say a few words in memory of his friend and brother. “Casey was a tremendous person. Big heart, loved this firehouse, loved being a fireman, loved his family, loved life. He lived life to the fullest. I just hope I can emulate all the qualities he had as a human being. He will be forever missed. He will be never forgotten. Casey was a big part of this firehouse and always there. Willing, able, helping everyone,” Polit said. “Thank you for coming out, mourning with us. This is a tragic, horrible death that happened to an amazing person. They say the good die young. Well, he’s going to be an incredible angel because he was an incredible person.”

Councilwoman Ariola ended the service by praying for the safety of Skudin’s fellow firefighters. “May God watch over you and keep you safe, and thank you for your service,” she said.

 By Katie McFadden

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