Longtime firefighter Louis Iuzzini was given a final tribute for his decades of service to the East Farmingdale community on Sunday as family, firefighters and dignitaries renamed a street after him in a special ceremony.
“Captain Lou Iuzzini Way” is the new name that was given to 15th Street between Wellwood Avenue and Second Avenue in West Babylon in honor of Iuzzini, who died earlier this year. Iuzzini served in the East Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company for 63 years, having been a lieutenant and later a rescue captain in the company as well as a member of its board of directors.
East Farmingdale Fire Chief Duane Welliver at the ceremony called Iuzzini "a dedicated member of our company."
For Joseph Iuzzini, an ex-chief with the East Farmingdale fire company and one of Lou Iuzzini’s two sons, the day was an emotional one. He had been raised in a house on the same street after Lou Iuzzini and his late wife Marilyn Iuzzini moved there in 1961.
Iuzzini said that growing up, he saw how his father loved to serve the community through his job, at times having to get up from the family dinner table abruptly to go to the scene of a fire, even during holidays like Christmas.
It was his father’s example that inspired Iuzzini to want to become a firefighter himself, joining the fire company's in 1994 as a junior firefighter, where he worked his way up the ranks to become the company's 48th chief — an honor that Lou Iuzzini himself made official when he personally swore his son in.
“I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and seeing him get up and leave dinner, leave Christmas dinner, to go help the community, that’s what I wanted to do,” Iuzzini told Newsday after the ceremony.
Lou Iuzzini was one of only three members to have ever served the East Farmingdale fire company for more than 60 years, according to the fire company's Facebook page. In addition, Iuzzini received the company's Kenneth Nittoly Sr. Memorial EMS Award in 1978 and multiple unit citations during his career.
Third-generation firefighter Tyler Meyer, 20, Iuzzini’s son and Lou Iuzzini’s grandson, said he and his grandfather used to do side projects together, with his grandfather often sharing with him stories about his days as a firefighter.
“I always followed in his footsteps, and he used to tell me his stories about when he used to ride the backstep [of the fire truck],” Meyer said.
During the course of Lou Iuzzini’s career, Joseph Iuzzini said his father had started mentoring programs for young firefighters and had also fire prevention programs in the community.
“He loved working with the younger guys, but he made sure they knew that he was the boss, and that it was his way or the highway,” Iuzzini said with a chuckle.
When asked what he thought watching the street sign with his father’s name unveiled, Iuzzini eyes welled up.
“Daddy’s smiling. He’s watching us smiling,” Iuzzini said with a smile.