On Sept. 11, 2001, a call for assistance went out over marine radio from the U.S. Coast Guard in the aftermath of what would be terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
James Schneider, captain of the James Joseph 2, a fishing vessel based out of Huntington Harbor, sprang into action. He corralled a crew of 13 others and set out for the city to join other boats to help evacuate hundreds of thousands of people by water.
"I was simply fulfilling my obligation as a captain and an American," Schneider said.
In commemoration of the service of Schneider and his crew, Huntington Town Board member Mark Cuthbertson said he thought it was important to recognize their valor and bravery and organized a plaque dedication with the support of The Greater Huntington Yacht and Boating Club.
On a recent sunny September day, reminiscent of the beautiful weather that was incongruent with events of that fateful day 20 years ago, two plaques emblazoned with the names of the crew were unveiled at Huntington Harbor. (The name of a crew member who didn't sign the log for the day still has to be added to one of the plaques.)
"These bronze plaques will serve as a reminder of our heartfelt appreciation for their courageous actions on 9/11," Cuthbertson said.
For Schneider, answering the call to help was also personal.
One of his crew members, Jake Jagoda, was working in the north tower that day after serving as a mate on the James Joseph 2 the night before, successfully bringing home some striped bass.
"Jake was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald for six weeks and maintained his job on weekends on the boat," Schneider said.
Jagoda, of Huntington, was 24 and was among 658 employees at the financial services firm who died in the attacks.
Schneider said he’s humbled by the community support and love.
"We lost two crew members to 9/11-related cancer so far, so the honor goes to Teddy Schmidt and Teddy Schwartz," Schneider said. "The honor goes to them and all the young men that appear on the plaque that ran towards danger."