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LI 9/11 hero honored with medal

September 7, 2009 3:37:03 PM PDT
The family of a volunteer firefighter killed in the September 11th terror attacks received a long overdue honor Monday. Glenn Winuk was a longtime member of the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department. He was killed when the south tower collapsed, and he was the only firefighter who died on 9/11 who did not receive the Medal of Valor.

"They had this very stupid bureaucratic rule that if you weren't actually on duty, which of course volunteer firefighters are not, you couldn't get the medal," New York Senator Charles Schumer said. "That made no sense. Glenn was every bit as brave as everyone else."

Colleagues and loved ones came together this Labor Day at the neighborhood park in Jericho that is dedicated to Winuk. They watched as Schumer and Congressman Peter King presented Winuk's family with the honor they fought for. Glenn's brother Jay went to battle with the Department of Justice for years.

"It was very frustrating," he said. "He was a volunteer firefighter. Twenty years of training. He was an EMT. He was certified in building collapse. He knew just what he was doing. He ran from a position of safety towards danger."

There was never any question about Winuk's fearless actions that day. The 40-year-old lawyer was evacuated from his building, grabbed a medical bag and rushed into the tower.

To this day, his father has mixed emotions.

"I thought he was nuts," Seymour Winuk said. "But I expected it."

Family and friends call it a bittersweet moment. They say finally Glenn got the honor he deserved, but there is nothing to take away their pain and bring Glenn back.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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