Nassau police emergency services Officer Charles D. Cole Jr., who toiled at Ground Zero after the 2001 attacks, was remembered at his funeral as a man of many names: Dad, Son, Charlie Boy, Choo-Choo Charlie.
A name that was a particular source of pride to him and his family, his brother Timothy Cole said: Officer Cole.
"Officer Cole was proud of what he did," Timothy Cole said at a Medford church Thursday. "He built a life at helping people -- and never asked for anything more."
Cole, 49, of Wantagh, a 24-year veteran of the department, died Sunday of a rare form of brain cancer that his family blames on the Ground Zero work. During his career, Cole had worked at the Seaford-based Seventh Precinct, in the highway patrol and in emergency services.
"You all know the hows and the whys of why Charlie's no longer with us today. To me, it's hard not to get angry, to point fingers at the events of 9/11," his brother said.
At Thursday's funeral, an antique Mack fire truck bearing Cole's coffin rolled slowly down Ohio Avenue, toward the Church of St. Sylvester. The truck belonged to the Medford Fire Department, which Cole long served as a volunteer.
Cole's wife, Eva, arm-in-arm with a white-gloved police officer, wept as Cole's fellow Medford Fire Department volunteers lifted the coffin off the truck and "Amazing Grace" played.
Hundreds of police officers, recruits and firefighters from across the Island stood in formation for the police department's most hallowed rite: the honors of a police-hosted funeral.
Among the mourners were colleagues of Cole's in Nassau's emergency services unit, including retired Officer Vince Catalano. The two of them had worked on the pile together.
"Charlie was always there for you," Catalano said, recalling how nearly every member of their emergency-services unit went to help. "He wasn't afraid to do the job."
Acting Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter said that 2011 has been a particularly sad one for the police department: Earlier this year, two police officers died in the line of duty.
"This has been an unprecedented year in a very long time in Nassau County where we've lost three police officers in tragic circumstances," he said.
In addition to his wife, Cole is survived by his children, Meagan and Matthew, and his parents, Marguerite and Charles Cole.