February 05, 2002
Firefighters help widow
By Chris McKenna
Monroe – Kenny and Katrina Marino had planned since spring
to expand their little home.
Kenny, a New York City firefighter who worked on the side for
a builder, was going to do the work with help from his construction co-workers.
It would be a second story on the Cape Cod-style home near Round Lake in Monroe.
All he needed was a town permit. He checked the mail every day for it.
Everything changed Sept. 11. Kenny was at work at Rescue 1
that morning when his company was called to the World Trade Center. They charged
to the scene. And Kenny Marino and 10 other members of Rescue 1 never came home.
The stalled building plans were perhaps last on Katrina's mind
as she and her two young children coped with the loss. But the work still had to
And nearly five months later, it has been.
Yesterday, Katrina stood in her back yard beside the completed
addition, surrounded by more than a dozen of the volunteers who made it happen,
most of them members of Monroe's Mombasha Fire Company.
"I know Kenny's watching, and I know he's very proud of
what his friends have done for him," she said.
In addition to being a paid firefighter, Kenny volunteered
with Mombasha, which he joined shortly after he and Katrina moved to Monroe from
Long Island three years ago.
After his death, Mombasha member John Karl found out about the
building plans while cutting Katrina's lawn.
He suggested Mombasha help.
The idea went over well.
"We just kind of ran with it," Karl said.
Plans were changed to an addition with two bedrooms and a
bathroom. Karl helped get a building permit and coordinate the work. Two
businesses – 84 Lumber and ARZ Building Products – donated materials or sold
them at cost.
The volunteers came whenever their jobs permitted them –
days, nights, weekends. Everybody could contribute something, if only a strong
back. But many also had the crucial specialized skills.
Chuck Mancuso helped with the electrical work. John Hesse and
his son, John Paul, installed plumbing and heating. Calixto Cassas called his
son, Nick, a roofing contractor, and that took care of the roof.
"We did everything from the hump work to the fine
work," said Mombasha member Michael Gormley, a former cabinet maker whose
fine work included interior wood trim.
"It's not going to bring him back, doing this,"
Gormley said. "But at least it helps her out a little bit."
Earlier, as Katrina served freshly baked chocolate chip
cookies in her kitchen, she told the workers how close she felt to them: "I
have a bunch of big brothers, fathers and friends."
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