Plaque dedication ceremony for Pudjak

June 22, 2008 3:53:04 PM PDT
His name was Daniel Pudjak and he was one of New York's bravest.The 23-year-old died in the line of duty exactly 12 months ago.

Sunday, firefighters unveiled a plaque ensuring Pudjak's memory will endure forever.

One year ago today, they mourned his tragic death. This Sunday afternoon they honored his heroic life. "He's my hero," Pudjak's brother said.

Last year, Daniel Pujdak was fighting a fire in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn when fell off the roof, some 60 feet.

"He really loved being a firefighter," Pudjak's mom said.

Now, a memorial plaque at Ladder 146 honors the man who dedicated his life to the FDNY.

"This community and the entire city will always remember Daniel with gratitude and pride," Mayor Bloomberg said. "May gods bless his memory and may god bless the FDNY."

Even after his death, Daniel Pujdak continues to inspire others. His brother Matthew graduated from the fire academy and is now a firefighter at Engine 50 in the south Bronx.

"I took his badge, now carry his badge number. I have a tattoo on my back for him," Matthew said. "I carry him in my heart."

Also, during Sunday's ceremony, a painting featuring Ladder 146 was unveiled.

Called "Local Heroes" -- the painting was created by an artist who never met the Pujdaks but was inspired by their story.

"Not many people in such short time could have so much of an impact on so many people," Pudjak's mother said. "It's been such an inspiration for us."