Family, friends ride in Chuck Margiotta's memory

Family, friends ride in Chuck Margiotta's memory

 It was staring Mike Margiotta in the face all the time — from shortly after 9/11 until just over a year ago.

Mike was looking for a way to commemorate the sacrifice made by his brother, Chuck, a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department.

Chuck, a football star at Monsignor Farrell and Brown University and the sheriff for the youth basketball leagues at St. Rita’s parish in Meiers Corners, was driving home from a "mutual" he had worked in Brooklyn when he heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center.

He pulled off the Staten Island Expressway in Concord, parked his car and joined Rescue Co. 5 in its race to immortality.

"A lot of people asked me about having a dinner to raise money for the (Chuck Margiotta) scholarship fund," Mike said Friday. "But a dinner didn’t fit. Chuck wasn’t a shirt-and-tie guy.

"Then, my wife, Patricia, said to me, ‘Why don’t you have a motorcycle run?’

"It fit," Mike said. "Chuck rode a bike. I still do. With Rolling Thunder to raise funds."

And so, tomorrow morning, motorcyclists for the Second Annual Chuck Margiotta Brains, Brawn & Bravery Bike Run will assemble at Monsignor Farrell.

The day is much more than the procession of 300-plus motorcycles highlighting places in Chuck’s life, passing Angels Circle in Grasmere en route to Meiers Corners and Chuck Margiotta Way before heading back to Farrell.

"It’s a long fun day." Mike said. For the bikers, for Chuck’s family and friends, for firefighters, for his high school and college classmates, for those who wish to pay homage to Chuck and the other heroes and victims of 9/11.

With folks from Farrell and Engine 165 / Ladder Co. 85, Chuck’s last fire department home, doing the grunt work, the day begins with coffee, bagels and juice around 10.

An hour later, there will be a memorial ceremony which includes Chuck’s favorite tune, "Sweet Home Alabama," and a benediction.

Then, while the motorcycles begin their journey, the barbecue grills are lighted and the music, live this year courtesy of the group the BLUE MEANIES, begins.

Mike feels last year’s event was blessed. Over an 8-10-day period, the sun shone only for Chuck’s day.

"We had a terrific response," he said, "and everyone I spoke to said they’d be back this year. We’re hoping for even more motorcycles and more people this time."

And, it is hoped, for even more money for the fund which last year, raised $16,000 for a need-based scholarship. The first recipient was John Curley, now attending Farrell.

"Four thousand dollars a year," Mike said, adding that half the money came from the motorcycle run and the rest from direct donations to the scholarship fund.

Which means those who can’t be there can still be a part of the event and pay homage to one of our many 9/11 heroes.

Donations may be sent via the internet ( or by mail to the Chuck Margiotta Scholarship Fund, 463 Ingram Avenue, Staten Island, 10314.


 By Jack Minogue