The FDNY paid tribute on Friday to a fellow Bravest, who died last year in Iraq, with an emotional plaque dedication at his firehouse.
Fire Marshal and Air National Guard pilot Christopher (Tripp) Zanetis died at age 37 in an American military helicopter crash along the Iraq-Syria border on March 15, 2018.
The firefighter had worked at Engine 28/Ladder 11 on 2nd St. in the East Village, which is where Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Mayor de Blasio and his family and friends gathered in his honor.
“We feel his presence still and we will always ‘cause we know a true hero when we see one, we know someone who lived life to the fullest when we see that kind of individual,” the mayor said as he unveiled the plaque honoring Zanetis.
“Tripp certainly lived up to both of those definitions. Everything so many of us have learned in the year since we lost him confirms what an outstanding human being, what a joyful, committed, dutiful person who did so much good and moved everyone who met him,” he added.
Zanetis was a fitness trainer, played piano, studied law and was active in LGBT groups associated with the FDNY and the National Bar Association.
He was one of seven people killed in Iraq on March 15 when their U.S. military helicopter hit a power line and crashed during a troop transport near the Syrian border.
Also killed in the crash was FDNY Lt. Christopher Raguso, 39, who additionally worked as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Commack, L.I. Raguso and Zanetis were members of the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard based in Suffolk County’s Westhampton Beach.
A graduate of New York University and Stanford Law School, Zanetis often used his legal expertise to help others, Commissioner Nigro said.
After his death, his family chose to remember him with a processional ceremony filled with music and friends, led by the FDNY from his firehouse to Washington Square Park.
“His decision to become a firefighter was made nearly 18 years ago as a young student volunteering to help first responders on and immediately after September 11th. Tripp saw a department that was hurting, and he decided he could help. That was clearly the theme of his life, always selflessly helping others,” the commissioner said.
“A year ago, together, we honored his wishes with a celebration of life for Tripp that was an incredible sight to behold. It was not a funeral, it truly was a celebration of a remarkable life. Tripp touched so many in his too few years with us, in the military, in the field of law, in school, and of course here in the FDNY,” Nigro noted.