Taking a ride to honor a Staten Island hero

Taking a ride to honor a Staten Island hero

 OAKWOOD -- Charles (Chuck) Margiotta was always involved in sports.

After playing a variety of sports as a kid, Margiotta focused on football and starred at Monsignor Farrell High School, where he was a hard-blocking tight end, and Brown University, where he was an undersized nose guard, and later for the Fire Department team and in the Staten Island Touch Tackle League.

When he started a family with his wife Norma, he got involved in more ways than one with his daughter Norma Jean‘s and son Charles’ sports teams. He became an instituton in St. Rita’s program in Meiers Corners.

He also loved riding his motorcycle.

Chuck’s 20-year career as a New York City firefighter, and sadly, his life, ended on September 11. Margiotta was on his way home from doing a “mutual,” when he heard the news on his truck radio. He drove to the nearest firehouse in time to jump on the ill-fated rig with the guys from Rescue Co. 5 in Concord.

So, when Chuck’s brother Mike Margiotta decided he wanted to continue to perpetuate and honor his hero brother, the idea of a day with friends and motorcycles was the way to go.

“Chuck wasn’t a shirt-and-tie guy, but he rode, as I do with Rolling Thunder Chapter 2 New York, and it really was a no-brainer.”

What was born and will take place on June 3 for the fourth consecutive year is the Lt. Chuck Margiotta FDNY Memorial Brains Brawn Bravery Motorcycle event. The day-long celebration is a fundraiser for the Chuck Margiotta Scholarship Fund. The fund provides a full four-year scholarship to a youngster who wants to attend Farrell and play football but needs the financial support to do so.

The event starts at 10 a.m. with bagels, coffee and juice during the two-hour sign-in period on the grounds of Farrell’s Oakwood campus. The motorcycle ride, for which participants donate $20 (passengers are free) then begins and proceeds to Angels Circle in Arrochar, to Chuck’s home street in Westerleigh, to the end of the Staten Island Expressway to Fr. Capodanno Blvd. and back to Farrell.

The rest of the day, which usually winds down around 3 p.m. is spent enjoying barbecued food, music and friendly chatter. And that certainly would include many Chuck Margiotta stories.

The event is open to anyone.

“It is amazing how many people support this event in Chuck’s memory,” said Mike Margiotta. “He touched a lot of people in his life and I usually see many of them on this day.”

Mike Margiotta was effusive in praising all the Staten Island businesses that support the day’s festivities.

“I can’t do any of this without the many, many sponsors that have been so loyal to this event,” said Mike Margiotta, a Prall Intermediate school physical education teacher. “We do not lay out for anything. It’s all donations, either in money, service or product which allows for every dollar raised to go to the scholarship fund.”

The list of sponsors is lengthy but includes the Jewett Ave. Burger King, Champ Beverages, Sharkey’s Square, DiLeo’s Pizzeria, Belfiore Meats of Victory Boulevard, Justino’s Pizzeria, Artisan Bakers Group, Beyar’s Market, Killymeyers Old Bavarian Inn, Pat Russo‘s Chef’s Choice Food, Once In A Lifetime Photography, Fiorito’s Bella Famiglia, Staten Island Pickle Works, Shop-Rite of Richmond Avenue, NY NY Salon, DJ Chris Ortiz, the Staaten Restaurant, Dependable Auto Body and Richmond Elevator.

There is also Major League Screen Printing, RGM Signs, Alphonso’s Pastry Shoppe, Bagels and Buns on Victory Boulevard, Cabaret Tent, Nonna’s Pizzeria, Brian Hall of Hall Monuments, Jimmy Max and Ron and Dave’s Tattoo.

Mike Margiotta also applauds his Rolling Thunder club members and Farrell’s Greg Guastavino, a firefighter with Ladder 165, Engine 85 where Chuck worked last. Guastavino makes sure that whoever is not on duty that day is at Farrell helping cook or serve or lend a hand in whatever way necessary.

“I would only ask that people pray for good weather (although the event still happens if it rains - the party itself moves inside but the motorcycle ride is weather-proof),” Mike Margiotta said. “The other thing is I hope people will go to our website and see all the sponsors who are listed, and support their business because they have supported Chuck and this event from the start.”

While Mike encourages everyone to event, if you can’t attend, the donations can be made online at www.chuckmargiottascholarshipfund.com. You can also email Mike at mix28@aol.com or call 718-698-9494.
 By Jerry Lee