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Dennis McHugh
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Age: 34
Occupation: Fire Fighter
Worked for: FDNY
Originally from: Bronx, New York
Resided in: Sparkill, New York
School: Tappan Zee High School
College: Iona College
Submitted by: Irish Tribute ()

Other links: The Man Who Did It All: NY Times
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From the Westchester Journal News

They came by the hundreds yesterday, seeking solace by the shores of the Hudson River.

Some looked off into the distance with eyes red and swollen from crying. Others just stared at the ground from behind dark sunglasses.

The sun shone brightly on St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Piermont, and the air was warm. But the hearts of Dennis P. McHugh's friends, family and colleagues appeared heavy as they remembered the father of three from Sparkill, one of the hundreds of New York City firefighters missing since responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

"We just want to say, 'So long, buddy,' " said Dermid Kelly, who helped deliver the eulogy for the friend he had known since second grade. "We'll always love you, and we'll miss you. Take care, buddy."

Kelly remembered meeting McHugh in the second grade and watching as the new kid in class headed straight for the fireman's pole on the school playground. A transplant from the Bronx, McHugh played the tough kid, Kelly recalled, and slid down the pole head first.

"Obviously, my next stop with Dennis was to Mrs. Grace, the school nurse," Kelly recalled.

Michael McHugh spoke of a brother with a goofy grin and a sharp sense of humor who often made himself the punch line of jokes B and someone who was more than a sibling.

"He was an older brother by birth, but he was a great friend by choice," Michael McHugh said of his brother, who abandoned a career in finance to pursue his calling as a firefighter. Another McHugh brother, Tom, is a fire marshal with the New York Fire Department.

Dennis McHugh always knew the right thing to say and was always available to lend a sympathetic ear in times of distress, his brother Michael said.

"It's ironic," he said, "but it's times like these when we need Dennis the most."

Dressed in sharp blue uniforms and assembled in seemingly endless rows, firefighters lined up in front of St. John's on Piermont Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. yesterday. A drummer and bagpiper from the FDNY Emerald Society's Pipe and Drum band led a somber procession to the church's front door.

"Amazing Grace" filled the air as McHugh's family filed into the church. Bagpipes gave way to an organ and hymns, and the words of St. John's pastor, Monsignor John Mulligan.

"This is a celebration of life," Mulligan told the standing-room-only crowd, as well as many others standing outside and listening to the service on a public address system, "Dennis' life with his friends and family, his parish and community and the Fire Department. And his new life that he now shares with the Lord."
-- Irish Tribute (Friend)
22 Oct 2001

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