Hawaii Stories

Terry Rivera, Honolulu

(Nominated by FDNY Firefighter Mark Medina)
On Deck of The Battleship U.S.S. Missouri (BB63)
Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2010

Date of Appt:  January of 2001
Firehouses assigned to: Ladder 10 from April 2001-2005

Let me start by saying, it is a great honor and privilege to stand on this historic site, before all the great service men and women of the state of Hawaii, and all it’s citizens and talk about someone I consider to be a special and close friend of mine. Terence Carlos Rivera or “Terry” as he is commonly known, was assigned to Ladder 10 in April of 2001. As it turns out, September 11, 2001 was Terry’s first “job”. Talk about trial by fire! The evening before Sept 11, he was sent out on a detail to Engine 33/ Ladder 9, where he was assigned to Engine 33 for the night tour. After he was relieved that next morning on Sept 11, he returned to “Ten House” to get off duty for the day.  While standing in front of the apparatus door speaking to a fellow Ten House member FF Schroeder, the first plane hit the North tower at approximately 8:46 AM. Terry ran back into the firehouse to grab his gear and jumped on the back of Ten truck, where he was immediately faced by a civilian burning in the streets, to whom he rendered immediate aid. He remained performing his fireman duties, at what was now named “Ground Zero”, till approximately midnight, at which time he ran home, took a shower, and returned back to Ten House a few hours later at approximately 4 am, to continue his duties as a New York City Firefighter. From that time on, the FDNY had called for all members to work 48 hour tours to perform search and rescue efforts, with 24 hours off in between, which lasted approximately two weeks straight. Tragically, Terry came to find out the men he worked with the night before at Engine 33 and Ladder 9 had all perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Due to the destruction of both Engine 10 and Ladder 10’s rigs, the companies of Engine 10 and Ladder 10 were separated. Members of Engine 10 were now assigned to work out of Ladder 1/ Engine 7 and members, like Terry Rivera ,of Ladder 10 were assigned to Ladder 15/ Engine 4, until we re-opened our doors on November of 2003 and Ten House was re-born and both companies were finally reunited. It was senior men like Terry Rivera that helped teach the new probies coming in what this job is all about–its duties, how to always be aware of your surroundings, watch out for the man behind and in front of you, and instill the pride of our firehouse. Thank you Terry for taking that time, being a great friend to me, when I came on in 2003 and teaching me and all the other men, everything that you knew, up until the day you retired. As it is said, “Once a fireman, always a fireman”. Our House, Ten House, never fell under the heavy weight of the Trade Center.  It is printed on our firehouse T-shirts, “Ten House Still Standing”, and as of today still operates as a fully functional firehouse.  The men there still carry on the pride and job we set out to do each and everyday, with no hesitation. God Bless You, the FDNY, the City of New York, and May God Bless the United States of America. Thank you.