Friends Remember a Local Hero

Friends Remember a Local Hero

 Sept. 11, 2001 was certainly one of the most tragic days in the history of America, a day which will be embedded in the minds and hearts of all Americans forever. It has had, and will continue to have, a profound effect on the lives of all Americans, both young and old. For many it has awakened a sense of patriotism and spirituality that has remained dormant during years of hibernation. We now recognize that our rights and freedoms cannot simply be taken for granted. We each have grieved, in our own manner, for the many lives that were lost needlessly. For us, the grieving process was of a personal nature, too. Not only did we grieve for the thousands of New Yorkers who lost their lives, nameless strangers to most of us in this region, but also for the life of a good neighbor and valued friend, Charles (Chuck) Margiotta, one of the many brave firefighters who has been missing since this terrible tragedy occurred.

Chuck was born and raised in Staten Island, but his heart was always in the Adirondacks. After years of vacationing in this region during his youth, he jumped at the opportunity to own property in this area. He and a former college buddy, also from New York, purchased the residence formerly owned by Martha (Denton) and Spike Farrell in New Russia. Chuck and his family, his wife Norma and their two children, Norma Jean (age 12) and Charlie (age 10), would take advantage of every opportunity possible to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and come to the peacefulness of their Adirondack home.

Chuck loved the Adirondacks. He was an avid hunter, angler, mountain climber, and bicyclist, an overall outdoorsman. He frequently could be seen fishing the Boquet River, canoeing in Lincoln or Chapel Pond, hunting on Giant Mt., or hiking up one of the many trails in the Adirondacks. Each time he would come to say his goodbyes, as he was preparing for this trip back to the city, he would remark how it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to leave his real home, the Adirondacks.

Chuck's love for the Adirondacks was only surpassed by the love he had for this family and friends. He was one of the most ambitious and virile men we have ever known. Yet, he had a gentle, kind and compassionate side as well. He worked diligently to provide for his family. Not only did he work as a fireman on Staten Island, but also he worked as a substitute teacher in the public school systems (having had a degree in English literature as well), a stunt man for the movie industry (he could be seen in many well-known films, such as"Frequency", "Urban Cowboy" and episodes of the HBO series "Oz". In addition, he worked part-time as a private detective for an international investigation firm based in New York, Chuck's ambition, his energy, and his drive were endless. Even though he worked extensively to provide for this family, he still managed to find time to coach his son's or daughter's little league baseball or soccer teams and to become an active member of their school's board of education. To Chuck, his family was his top priority, and he unselfishly attended to their needs.

Through his many actions, Chuck demonstrated his thoughtful and considerate nature. To Chuck, his friends were an extended part of his family. Each time he traveled north to his Adirondack home, he would give us a call prior to this departure. "What can I bring you from the city?" he would inquire. Even though we would decline his offer, he never came empty handed. His generosity was only exceeded by his compassion. The last time we saw Chuck and his family was the weekend of Sept. 1. On that Saturday, my mother suffered a massive stroke. Knowing that I had spent a very stressful and painful night at my mother's bedside, Chuck and his family were there to greet me the next day with a compassionate hug and words of encouragement. A whole meal was thoughtfully sent to our door. Chuck's empathy and concern continued, even from afar, as calls came from Staten Island to inquire about my mother's condition and to offer words of support.

Yes, Chuck was not only a good neighbor, but a highly respected and valued friend. Many times since Sept. 11 we have asked ourselves, "Why did Chuck's life have to be taken so needlessly? Why did he have to go to the Trade Center on that very day?" You see Chuck was on his way home after working a 24-hour shift at his station on Staten Island when he apparently heard over his radio that the first tower had been hit. He then pulled his vehicle into the nearest fire station, hopped on a truck, went with his fellow firefighters to be of assistance. "Why didn't Chuck just drive home, after all, his shift was over, his duty was done, right? Why didn't he just allow those who were on duty to respond to this call?" We keep asking ourselves that question, over and over. But in our hearts we know the answer, Chuck was a firefighter and that's what firefighters do. They bravely risk their lives, selflessly, to save the lives of others.

Charles (Chuck) Margiotta was our neighbor. He was our friend. But most importantly, he was, and always will be, our hero. His heroic spirit will be ever-present in our hearts.
 Paul and Darlene Hooper to The Valley News