The FDNY honored a fallen hero with the dedication of a plaque honoring a Long Island City fire marshal last week.
Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis died at age 37 during a helicopter crash along the Iraq-Syria border on March 15, 2018. Zanetis was one of seven U.S. service members killed during a military operation.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Mayor Bill de Blasio were on hand at a ceremony at his old firehouse, Engine 28/Ladder 11, in the East Village.
“We lost Chistopher “Tripp” Zanetis a year ago but boy we feel his presence still and we will always cause we know a true hero when we see one, we know someone who lived life to the fullest when we see that kind of individual,” de Blasio said. “Tripp certainly lived up to both of those definitions. Everything so many of us have learned in the year since we lost him confirms what an outstanding human being, what a joyful, committed, dutiful person who did so much good and moved everyone who met him.”
Zanetis was a reservist with the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard at Westhampton Beach. In addition to being a firefighter, the Indiana native was a graduate of New York University and Stanford Law School, and he used his legal expertise to help others, according to Commissioner Nigro.
“His decision to become a New York City firefighter was made nearly 18 years ago as a young student volunteering to help first responders on and immediately after September 11,” Nigro said. “Tripp saw a Department that was hurting, and he decided he could help. That was clearly the theme of his life always selflessly helping others.”
Zanetis had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and saved fellow service members on multiple occasions. At one point in 2012, Zanetis was part of an elite unit of all FDNY firefighters that deployed on more than 50 rescue missions, saving 100 lives in combat.
“It was not part of his life plan originally to wear a uniform, but then 9/11 happened,” de Blasio said. “When that tragedy occurred, he rushed to the site, not because he was a sworn officer, not because he had been trained, but because he wanted to serve. He wanted to help. He didn’t care that there might be danger lurking. He wanted to do something to help his fellow human beings and he was there all day and into the night helping the first responders in any way he could, and that experience convinced him that night that he had a sense of mission, that he needed to wear a uniform and protect others.”