On Saturday, a portion of Flatlands Avenue was co-named in honor of Firefighter William John Gormley, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Councilmember Jumaane Williams and state Sen. Marty Golden helped unveil the sign for the newly co-named street that will run along Flatlands Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to Avenue M.
“William Gormley was emblematic of the true spirit of service – his country, his city, his community,” said Williams. “In co-naming this street today, we cement his legacy, but that legacy, that impact, was already and will always be felt by those whose lives he impacted. When we talk about the tragedy of September 11, we say ‘Never Forget.’ It’s important that we also don’t forget the long-lasting impact for those who answered the call, to support and celebrate them.”
The 53-year-old Gormley joined the FDNY in 1988 and retired from the Ladder Company 174 in East Flatbush in 2006. He was a first responder on September 11, and died on June 14, 2017 following a short battle with lung cancer. The illness was linked to his heroic actions 16 years earlier at the World Trade Center.
“There are no words to describe my brother,” Gormley’s sister Kathy Khatari told this paper. “He never had a bad word for anyone. He loved kids and laughter. We know we lost him to a 9/11-related cancer but my brother would have done it all over again. He was a man with integrity and he was a true patriot and an American hero.”
Golden said that it was an honor to be part of the street naming ceremony. “On 9/11, Firefighter Gormley was called to the World Trade Center, and he worked down at the pile not only that day, but for many days after,” Golden said. “Like so many others, he was committed to trying to rescue those who might have been alive, and recover those who were lost that day. Last year, William Gormley was taken from us when he lost his battle with lung cancer, an illness connected to his heroic actions 17 years earlier at the World Trade Center. Naming this corner, which was such an important part of his life, so to remember him forever, is a most fitting tribute.”
Community activist Khatari continues to fight for those who, like her brother, lost their lives to 9/11-related illnesses. She is currently working on a memorial for those FDNY heroes at Father Kehoe Square on Flatlands Avenue.
“My brother my hero, you will never be forgotten – I promise,” said Khatari.
“You are the pride of Flatbush, you are a son of Brooklyn, you served your country and city with everything you had and with pride. Never forget 9/11 – We will take it from here. This co-naming will be a daily reminder of what we lost on 9/11, and every day is 9/11 for us.”