BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (PIX11) — One of New York City’s Bravest was honored Saturday in the neighborhood he grew up in and loved. A street in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant community now bears the name of Sgt. FDNY firefighter Shawn Edward Powell.
It’s a day nearly 21 years in the making and Powell’s family was filled with emotions. His only son, Joshua, was just a child on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s the day his father gave his life to help save others in the World Trade Center. He still remembers his father vividly and shared his favorite memories during the ceremony honoring his name and legacy.
“We used to wake up and eat Cap’n Crunch. It was always on top of the refrigerator. Every night, almost every night before we went to sleep, he would read me the Dr. Seuss book: ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go,’” said Joshua Powell.
Dozens of loved ones, firefighters and local leaders gathered to honor Sgt. Powell in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood he grew up. Now, Monroe Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard will forever remind all who see it of a life of service. Powell was a U.S. Army Reservist. He also loved music and the arts. There was no shortage of that at the street-renaming ceremony.
“I find it amazing that 21 years later, all these people still show up. And still tell me stories, and show up and laugh with me,” said the son as his eyes welled up with tears.
Friends of the late Powell had been trying to get approval for the street renaming for years. Finally after all the wait, there is some comfort after all that mourning. A promise to keep his name alive is now a reality for all to see.
“We just had a beautiful relationship. We both were prior military. We both loved music and art. We just had a great bond,” said Hisham Tawfiq, retired firefighter and friend of Powell.
Powell was 32 years old at the time of his passing. As a young person, his family says he was quite curious and loved to explore. He loved to paint and studied architecture at the New York City Technical College, but no job brought him greater joy than being a firefighter.
Organizers of the event said they hope seeing his name there will inspire other young people in Bedford-Stuyvesant to remember his sacrifice and explore their own full potential.