9/11: 21 Years Later

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country. Those of us who were on the job at that time (only 10% of the active NYSTPBA membership) will never forget that day and the six-month detail that followed.

On that day, our country, our lives and our jobs were changed forever. Much has been said in editorials around the country about remembrance and reflection on this date. One common theme is this day is in danger of slipping into obscurity in American history. It’s important for each and every one of us to take time to remember those who lost their lives that day and those who have lost their lives in the years that followed.

Please remember the 2,977 people who died that day, especially retired Inv. Ronald G. Hoerner, who was killed while acting in his position as a security supervisor at the World Trade Center. Please also remember the first responders who are currently suffering and also those who have succumbed to illnesses as a result of their response to that act of terror. We pay tribute to the New York State Police members who have succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses:

  • COVEL C. “CHASE” PIERCE (3/10/2011)
  • THOMAS G. MORAN JR. (7/22/2012)
  • DARRYL J. BURROUGHS (05/25/2016)
  • PAUL R. STUEWER (10/05/2016)
  • BRIAN S. FALB (03/13/2017)
  • WAYNE E. BENNETT (08/15/2017)
  • MICHAEL J. ANSON (01/02/2018)
  • CHARLES R. SALAWAY (06/09/2018)
  • JEFFREY M. CICORA (08/10/2019
  • RYAN D. FORTINI (01/01/2020)
  • WILLIAM J. DeBLOCK (10/20/2020)
  • JOSEPH J. MECCA JR. (12/02/2020)
  • JENNIFER M. CZARNECKI (12/05/2020)
  • MICHAEL R. O’DONNELL (12/24/2020)
  • JAMES G. SWEENEY (03/06/2021)
  • SCOTT P. ENSER (03/20/2021)
  • EDWARD T. KILUK (04/04/2021)
  • RODRICK C. COVINGTON (03/31/2022)
  • BRENT CHOMYSZAK (08/23/2022)

A final thought regarding Investigator Hoerner – Ron Hoerner, although retired from the State Police, acted heroically and very much like the Trooper he was by remaining in the tower and helping save countless lives that day.

Following retirement in 1995, he was hired by Summit Security Services as a Resident Manager at the World Trade Center. He oversaw 425 employees and was responsible for all administrative duties, investigations and operations for security at the World Trade Center. He trained all of the security officers who worked there so well that a 2002 USA Today article stated they were “the best trained in the country…and on September 11th that training saved thousands of lives.”

On September 11, 2001, Ronald G. Hoerner was witnessed helping evacuate people from Tower Two, exiting and returning two separate times. One of the women he helped evacuate had been in an elevator when the plane struck the building, causing her to suffer five broken ribs and a punctured lung. Hoerner helped evacuate her from the elevator shaft and turned her over to an EMT outside before returning to the building. He never was seen again after heading back in for a third time after safely escorting another person to safety. Tower Two collapsed soon thereafter.

Ronald G. Hoerner was 58 years old and was survived by his wife of eight months, Barbara, three stepdaughters and six grandchildren.

In 2002, his hometown of the village of Massapequa Park renamed one of its streets in honor of him for “fulfilling his sworn duty to protect his fellow Americans and the community they live in.”

In 2015, Summit Security Services created the “Ronald G. Hoerner Award for Valor” given to an employee who “goes beyond the scope of their duties and performs extraordinary acts of service.”

Again, I am respectfully requesting that Ronald G. Hoerner be formally recognized by Division annually on the September 11 anniversary for his actions that day, as well as his inclusion on the New York State Wall of Honor, which would be a much-deserved honor for a hero.

— NYSTPBA President Thomas H. Mungeer