February 05, 2002

Firefighters help widow

   By Chris McKenna
   Times Herald-Record
   cmckenna@th-record.com
   
   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 be done.
   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."
   

Copyright 2002 Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.
 

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