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Retired 9/11 Firefighter Moves Forward

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SEIAD VALLEY, Calif. – A Northern California man whose brother died in the terrorist attacks is taking a new approach to the anniversary.

As the town of Seiad Valley marks the 11th year anniversary of 9/11, a retired New York City Firefighter is reflecting on his connection to that day. For 11 years, Ralph Geidel has shared his story with his neighbors in Seiad Valley, explaining how he spent months digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center, searching for his firefighter brother Gary, who died while saving people from the Twin Towers.

Geidel says this year is different. After taking a motorcycle trip to New York on the anniversary last year, Geidel says he’s focused less on mourning his brother and more on celebrating his memory. At this year’s ceremony, Geidel invited local firefighters and police officers to take part. Geidel says he wants the day to be about teaching the community the value of working together.

“I was doing everything,” Geidel said. “I was trying to raise the flag, ring the bell. And then I thought, you know what, it’s not all mine, it’s not all about me and my family, so I wanted to get everybody involved.”

Geidel developed throat cancer after working for months at Ground Zero and on this anniversary, he got news: 50 cancers will now be covered by the multi-billion dollar relief fund for people exposed to the dust and fumes of the Trade Center collapse. Geidel says he will soon find out what benefits he will be able to receive.

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  1. Rita German says:

    Ralph , your story is awesome . I want to thank you and your brother Gary for being heroes . Gary’s spirit will live in us all. I have a son who is a Firefighter and I couldn’t imagine going through this tragedy. My prayers are with you and your family and all these men and women who are genuine heroes. Thank You again Rita M. German

  2. NANCI GREGORY says:

    Beautiful, Ralph!
    Very nice there ~ you should be proud!
    Think of you often; be sure to let me know
    when you.re in in town again
    Sending big love, dear cuz
    xo
    Nan

  3. Tim Farley says:

    Aloha Ralph…This is the Way !!! Awesome my friend kniwing Gary Smiling down over this with all the others as well…Proud you Ralph praying for ya my friend here in Hawaii…Anytime you next year need some Aloha Tribute Leis to Honor Gary and all at your way let me know…United We stand with You and All The Families who lost so much Our Nation as well…. The Greatest way keep Honoring Gary and all those lost is Doing what your doing here Ralph Teaching people sharing their Special Lives and Love with others …Love and Aloha so glad ABC 2 did story …The Media needs do more stories like this …Forever Honored here in Hawaii to tell Dad Aloha for me as well give Barb my Aloha to…Aloha Tim bless you my friend

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