RIP Rich Nappi, true hero and great friend

Rich at Shea Stadium, September 2006

I am so saddened and heartbroken about the death of a true hero, FDNY Lt. Rich Nappi.  He died battling a fire in Brooklyn earlier today.  My thoughts go out first to his wonderful wife Mary Anne and their two children.

Rich and I have been friends since 8th grade, when I was a new kid at Great Hollow middle school in 1978.  We were close in high school and closer for years later.  He is the only person from high school that I am friends with in real life, and the person I’ve been friends with longer than anybody else.

I moved to Portland in 1990 and he always kept in touch.  Whenever I got back to NY, he would make time for me.  I took this picture of Rich at a NY Mets game he took me to in September 2006 when I was in NY for a security conference for GE Security.  The day before he had shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.  It was the last time I saw him in person.

On September 11, he was stationed at Engine 7 just a few blocks from the World Trade Center.  Although he was off-duty that day and at home out on Long Island, he responded to the tragedy by driving into the city and working on rescue and recovery at the site.

Here is more information about what happened today:
http://www.firefighternation.com/article/news-2/fdny-releases-additional-information-brooklyn-lodd 

I’m so grateful to have known such a great person and will miss him immensely.

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    • Jerry
    • April 17th, 2012

    D-
    Had read about this tragedy so sad….. Did I ever meet Rich at a Mitch event like the Mets game? I think he looks familiar to me. I’m so sorry you lost a close friend.
    – J

    • Thanks JK. I don’t think you guys ever met – I think Mitch just starting doing the Mets games my last year in NY (1989). Take care brother.

    • Joe Rock
    • April 17th, 2012

    I first met Rich at Shea Stadium in October of 2003 at a Bruce Springsteen concert. He was looking for me after things is said on the radio. We became fast friends because that how he was. At later shows I made that he couldn’t I would call him by cell so he could hear certain songs he liked. As much as I cry I also can’t help but laugh because that’s how Rich was and I’m sure how he wants it !!!

    • Thanks for the comment, Joe. You’re right – “that’s how he was.” A true loss for all of us. As I’m remembering things, I’ve been randomly laughing all day as well. 🙂

  1. http://www.nysenate.gov/photos/2012/oct/16/senator-lee-zeldin-assemblyman-dean-murray-honor-fallen-local-fdny-hero

    Rich was honored a few weeks ago at a ceremony in Farmingville. The bridge across the LIE at Exit 63 has been renamed in Rich’s honor and memory.

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