A piece of steel from the twin towers was unveiled Friday as part of a Mastic Beach memorial in honor of Kevin J. Smith, a Mastic volunteer firefighter who was a hazardous materials technician for New York City’s Haz-Mat Co. 1 in Maspeth, Queens, and was last seen inside the lobby of the north tower before the building collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Among the several dozens who attended the annual 9/11 ceremony at the memorial, located at the corner of Mastic Road and Riverside Avenue, was Smith’s widow, Jerri, and many of his family members. Between them, they had eight children and 22 grandchildren.
Smith’s daughter, Josephine, in 2014 became the first daughter of a fallen 9/11 responder to join the ranks of the FDNY.
Regarding the addition of the steel plate, Jerri said, “It just shows that the community remembers him.”
Smith, a former Marine, was also a member of the Mastic Ambulance Co. Members of both the Mastic fire department, led by chief Rudy Sunderman, and the ambulance company, attended.
The plate was originally secured with the help of Bob Wilson, a former lieutenant in the FDNY, as well as Paul Breschard, the first mayor of the former Mastic Beach village.
Wilson, who attended Friday’s event, said at first the FDNY indicated it didn’t have material left to donate, but it eventually worked out.
Its first location was the gazebo on Neighborhood Road before it was stored at the American Legion Arthur H Clune Post 1533.
Sunderman said it found its permanent home thanks to a collection of people from various organizations, including welder Flavio Gaspari, a lifetime member of the Mastic fire department who affixed rebar to the steel, which was placed into rock that had holes drilled into it by Bob Kessler of the Yaphank Historical Society.
“This was all done in memory of Kevin Smith and his family,” Sunderman said.
Several other 9/11 ceremonies held around the area: