FDNY Battalion Chief honored and humbled to serve as co-Grand Marshal of Veterans Day Parade

“I've been doing it for 25 years and I get the same excitement and thrill coming to work since day one," Joe Duggan said.

Commitment to community and country, Joe Duggan  has devoted his life to.

"It’s a deep understanding of service," he added.

Like so many, he grew up dreaming to be a firefighter.

“A career that’s not normal every day, 9-5 and sitting behind a desk,” he explained.

His first steps of service came as a teenager.

“I joined ROTC and I got a scholarship for part of my college," he said. "I always had an interest in the military as well.”

He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve upon graduation in 1990. He joined the FDNY one year later.

“The Fire Department gets called and we make things better, and it’s extremely gratifying,” Duggan smiled

Born and bred in Brooklyn, this husband and father has worked nearly three decades for his home borough.

“It’s a special connection with the people,” he described. "I’ve gotten to know the borough probably better than most.”

Duggan took his pledge up, a sort of, entertaining, notch, joining the Department’s Emerald Society band.

He lives and breathes this brotherhood and his devotion was never stronger than on and the days following 9/11.

“Approximately a month after 9/11, they took nearly every member of the pipe band off of fire duty," he remembered. "We went to ceremonial duty, and I was doing four or five services in a day.”

Not long after, he was deployed to Baghdad as a Civil Affairs Captain.

“We came into Baghdad roughly a week after the city was taken by the U.S. Army and I was tasked with going out and getting the local community back, up and running.”

Duggan has since retired from the Reserve and been promoted to Battalion Chief.

“I’ve got four engine companies and two ladder companies,” he explained.

And this year, he took on another role leading the city’s Veteran’s Day parade as co-Grand Marshal next to the NYPD and Port Authority.

“There is no competition, everybody knows the FDNY is the lead agency," he laughed. "Don’t tell the cops!”

All three were chosen for a very specific reason.

“It’s the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and the United War Veterans Council have decided to honor those who were there that morning and who also served overseas,” he said.

He’s humbled to represent those who are no longer here and hopes people continuing honoring every veteran and service member for their sacrifices.

“I think the American people hold service members in the highest regards," Duggan said. "It’s different than in years past and I think that’s reflective in the parade."

 

Produced by: Pestalozzi