2009 Stories and Memories

Sep 11, 2009 Big Guys with Big Hearts

Dear Mike,
Chuck and I were classmates at Brown and neighbors in Keeney (West) Quad. I was living in Archibald house and Chuck was down around the corner (in Everett, I believe). The houses are connected by long continuous corridors. I will always remember, on the occasional Saturday night, Chuck and his roommate Bruce (Mook), in a burst of good-natured excess energy, charging through those corridors, sometimes knocking a fire door off its hinges with a single forearm swipe. It was very funny and at the same time an impressive demonstration of the sort of power they would employ on the football field. Big guys with big hearts. I was happy to see Bruce at our 25th reunion luncheon (in 2004). Chuck is remembered with great affection in many places.
Marc Cannizzo (Brown class of ’79)
(currently living in Bucharest, Romania)

Jul 21, 2009 Coach's Legacy

 Mr. Margiotta,
This essay truly epitomizes what I feel your brother taught me in the unfortunately short time I knew him. I never forgot his encouragement from the sidelines, and I know that the spirit and dedication he put into everything will remain a part of me forever. I owe much of my success to the fact that he believed in me at such a young age. I mean every single word of what is written, and I used this as my primary essay for college applications, in response to the question, “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, describe that influence.”The essay, I was personally told by a number of admissions officers, was one of the most memorable ones they had encountered in a very long time because they were able to understand the impact that Coach had on me as if they had known Coach and I for years. Middlebury College sent me a notice of early acceptance stating that “The essay about the loss of your coach captured our hearts and revealed a side of a child that is not normally evident at so young a stage of one’s life. It is clear that you take your past experiences and bring them with you wherever you go, and it was difficult for us to hold back our tears as we read your story.” Coach’s lessons shaped who I am and who I will become. It significantly influenced those who read it. I owe my acceptance to the following institutions to Coach’s legacy. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, Williams, Fordham, University of Virginia, Boston College, and most importantly, Brown University, realized how important Coach was, and how he had changed me for the better.

We had reached the top of the hill and I felt as though I had hit rock-bottom. I turned from the scene - black, billowing clouds mercilessly enshrouding Lower Manhattan - and said to my mother, in a graver voice than normally befits a ten-year-old, “Coach is in there, isn’t he?”. My mother could hardly respond, so choked up by tears, but I knew the answer and I knew its implications. In that moment I was prematurely awoken from the innocent slumber of youth; a unique maturity and understanding arose from that day. I recognize that as the single most transformative period of my life from which there sprang countless sorrows, but also, the ability to make the best of a bad situation and learn to cherish every person, every moment, and every memory. Those towers live on in the hearts of the American people, having left behind a stronger foundation in their destruction, and my coach’s steps that day, his last steps, would forever leave footprints on my heart. Just as in nature, though a forest may burn, leaving behind a desolate plain of ashes, the natural cycle of all things will bring life anew.
Attending the memorial service for my coach was painful, to say the least. I remember thinking that because he was gone, my soccer experiences were through. I have never been happier to have proven myself wrong. Interestingly enough, my coach’s absence from my life thereafter would do as much in shaping the person I am today as his lessons had done in life. I had determined that his encouragement to “go for the goal, Danny Boy” would have multiple meanings in my future. Having the courage to take the next step and leave behind the fear of failure is the epitome of a hero, and the secret to success that my coach passed on to me for use both on the field and off. I attribute my ability to lead, and the importance of being a role model for my five siblings to my coach’s influence on me. I simply do not have the ability to take anything for granted; each new day is an opportunity not to be wasted and one must live it to its fullest, for one never knows which will be his last.
After the memorial, my teammates and I were called together to receive a token to commemorate our coach’s sacrifice. This patch, which many considered to be the symbol of loss, was more-so to me an indication of my coach’s immortality:
“In memory of a fallen hero, Lieutenant Charles ‘Chuck’ Margiotta, FDNY, this eleventh day of September, 2001.”
That patch, which holds these words forever in time as bright gold letters against an azure background, is woven into the left shoulder of my number thirteen, “St. Rita’s Daredevils” soccer jersey, nearest to my heart. The colors themselves echo the memories the patch represents; a yellow surge of energy coming from the solid blue figure of my coach, whose confidence gave my tiny feet the power to tear through the field, That same patch remains on my undersized jersey to this day and I use it as means of looking into the microcosm that was Miller Field nearly twelve years ago, where began the relationship between a hero and a young boy.
Daniel Victorio

Jul 21, 2009 Mini-bike
 Hi Mike, after the bike run I thought of a funny bike story about Chuck. I purchased a Mini bike for my kids in a kit form. So I put the bike together but I couldn't adjust the rear brake just right I needed a third hand to do it. So I figured I would just bring the bike to the firehouse and have one of the guys help me the next time I was working. I went to work and brought the bike into the fire house and went up to my locker to change into my uniform. The next thing I know I hear the bike start up, I slid the pole so I could stop the person before they try and take a ride on it. It was too late...there goes Chuck! He bounced off the wall and went right out the apparatus door into Richmond Rd screaming "Where are the brakes?!!". I think he needed a new pair of shoes after that...he thought his feet would stop him. He came back into the firehouse screaming this thing is unsafe...the brakes suck. It was so funny seeing Chucks body on that tiny mini bike, it was amazing he never got hit by a car. I just wish I could have gotten a picture of him riding it. I have sent a pic of the mini bike so you can imagine what he looked like on it . Take care Tom delPino

Jul 21, 2009 Small World

Currently, I am providing Passenger Train Emergency Preparedness training to the emergency response community in which I live. Granted The Oswego Fire Station #1 seems a bit small, but the Chief is expecting to move to the new station within the next couple of weeks.

While I was waiting for the firefighter to finish shift change and come to class, I noticed a framed picture on the wall, the picture was of the fallen heroes of September 11. Obviously, Chuck’s picture in among the fallen heroes, it is good to know that a little bit of Chuck lives in Oswego, IL. Today I will ask the Chief if he would personally see to it that Chuck’s picture and the rest of the heroes finds a wall in the new fire station. Will let you know.

God Bless You and Yours
Jim G.

Jan 24, 2009 To Honor Chuck

 Dear Mrs Margiotta,

I can find no words that I could put down that would truly convey the heart felt condolences to you & your family. However, if I may, explain how this came about.

We are a small screen-print & vehicle graphic shop located in Fargo ND. In 2003 we designed and applied the graphics on a semi-truck now known as the Rolling Memorial, which can be seen on our web site, appliedimage.net.

On it were the names of everyone who perished on 9-11 in the planes, towers and Pentagon. In 2004, Thomas Bruno (FDNY Ret-L-85), sent us some t-shirts in appreciation, along with a phone call. During that conversation, he talked a little about Chuck, the stations location and about 9-11.

Curious, I went to the stations web site and found a link to Chuck’s web site. After visiting the site numerous times, reading the thoughts, memories and passages, one can’t help but feel like one really missed the boat, not having had the chance to know Chuck. So I wanted to do something unique to honor Chuck.

It has been an on again, off again project for me for 4 years, working with various artists that came and went. During the course, I’ve learned a few things in the software programs & such to finally bring this piece to completion.

I wish I could have met Chuck. He must have been an amazing man. The image portrayed is my attempt to try and capture the essence of the totally giving man that I felt reach out from his web site.

With the greatest respect and best wishes to you and your family,
Arlee Simpson

Jan 16, 2009 911 Bracelet

Dear Chuck, I wanted to stop by your website and wish you a Happy Birthday. We never met but the 911 bracelet I received had your name on it. I contacted your brother to see if he wanted it, but he wanted me to hang on to it for a keepsake. I have the bracelet with my family photos and not a day goes by that I don't stop and see the bracelet and think of you and what a brave man you are. Alana Barrett

Jan 15, 2009 Your Special Day
the past couple days I've been miserable with some version of the flu. I got a text message from my dad this morning during my commute reminding me that it was your birthday and that you'd get me through the day...So today at Columbia Presbyterian I was on the ortho floor all day. As I walked down the corridor I could see outside through the big windows in the patient rooms for the first time all morning, since there are no windows in the occupational therapy office. I hadn't been paying attention to anything other than my alarm clock this week, as I had to get used to getting up for my commute at 4:30am, so I had no idea that it was supposed to snow. It was comforting to see the snow, being that the snow reminds us all of you and your snow plow. The ortho floor got a major influx of people with bilateral knee replacements. I was dreading all the transferring that I'd have to do with the patients as they're pretty immobile but we have to get them to do as much as possible. Not fun with the flu. Well, one by one we saw each patient and I found myself exerting very little energy. One was yelling that she was in excruciating pain that was "off the charts" and refused to participate...we got the next one to sit at the edge of the bed, his blood pressure dropped significantly, and we had to lay him right back down (oh well)...one lady did all the work herself (a pleasure)...and the rest were only able to move around in bed. We used that mat that's placed underneath the person in bed to assist them in moving. It's called a "chuck". Every note I wrote had your name somewhere in it.

Thanks for getting me through my day, mentally and physically, on YOUR special day. Happy Birthday, Uncle Chuck.

Sarah Margiotta