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Remembering Bruce Gary

Bruce Gary, 51, of Bellmore, was a New York City firefighter with Engine 40 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was found with his medical bag outside the south tower.

A family remembers

Gary was a dedicated firefighter who raised his three children alone.

"He never slept. He was always going," said his daughter Jessica Kostaris of Massapequa, who was 24 when her father was killed. Despite his busy schedule, "he was still able to be a huge part of our lives."

He even managed to be vice president of the Bellmore Little League. "He coached; he was there for whatever we needed him for," she said.

His sister Donna Struzzieri of Wantagh said Gary also filled a fatherly role for the rest of the family.

"I think of him as someone very strong physically and strong mentally, someone that always made me feel safe. I believe the whole family felt safe. That was his role," she said.

When he died, people she had never met told her about all of his kindnesses -- such as doing plumbing work in which he was so skilled, and then not accepting payment.

"He was generous with his time and talents and never asked for anything," she said. "He was exhausted, he was tired but he would help me all the time."

When the events of Sept. 11 began to unfold she said her first thought was: "I have to call Bruce. He would be the first person I would always go to. The children lost their father but we also lost the protector for the entire family." -- Ridgely Ochs

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