Nine years after the line-of-duty death of a Suffolk County police officer who was a mentor to fellow cops and members of the Commack Fire Department, his friends in both departments sought to honor his spirit by giving back to the community.
More than 100 pints of blood had been collected halfway through the departments’ eighth annual Glen Ciano blood drive Saturday. Ciano was a veteran police officer killed in February 2009 by a drunken driver who struck his cruiser while he was assisting another officer at a traffic stop in Commack.
Ciano often stopped by the Commack firehouse on Jericho Turnpike while working the overnight shift from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. during 22 years with the Suffolk’s Second Precinct in Huntington. He used a station locker to change into his police gear and sometimes ate there between shifts.
However, Commack fire Commissioner Pat Fazio said Ciano — despite never becoming a firefighter himself — took it a step further by staying later and volunteering his own time to offer advice to some of the younger members of the fire department, making him “an integral part” of the unit.
Ciano’s widow, Sue Ciano, 55, of Farmingville, said her husband also was someone his fellow officers looked to for advice.
“He was not by far the oldest guy on the squad, but the guys joked that he was ‘the old man’ because he had very sage advice,” Ciano said. “He could take a situation that was crazy and temper it down and figure it out. He was meant for the job, and he was very good at it.”
Shortly after his death, the fire department asked Ciano if they could rename their annual blood drive in honor of their friend. Ciano happily agreed, saying, “I think it’s a great way of honoring Glen.”
“Glen was a good guy,” said Dean Schneckenburger, 36, a Commack firefighter who donated blood. “It’s sad what happened to him, but it’s nice to see something good come out of it where people are willing to give blood.”
Organizers said since renaming the drive in Ciano’s honor, blood donations have steadily increased every year, generating between 150 and 200 pints annually.
To this day, Ciano’s locker at the firehouse remains untouched and unused to honor his memory.
“He meant a lot to this place,” Fazio said, “And he’ll forever be embodied in this place.”