In Honor of Lt. Mike ``Chip’’ Chiapperini, Thomasz Kaczowka and the West Webster Fire Departmentby Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter
Posted on 2013-01-23
of new york
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Lieutenant Mike
``Chip'' Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka of Webster, NY. These two
heroes will be forever remembered for their brave and selfless
commitment to the people they called neighbors, friends and family and
the place they were proud to call home.
Chip and Tomasz devoted their lives to public service. For 19 years, Chip worked his way through the ranks of the Webster Police Department--from Dispatcher, to Police Officer, Investigator, Sergeant and Lieutenant. Yet when each shift at the Police Department was complete, Chip's public service continued as a volunteer firefighter with the West Webster Fire Department. For 25 years Chip served as a volunteer firefighter and rose to be Fire Chief and advisor to the Fire Department's Fire Explorer Post.
It was in his role as a firefighter that Chip oversaw a young volunteer firefighter and good family friend.
Tomasz Kaczowka had the passion bestowed by youth, yet a dedication to service that went far beyond his years. From serving as an emergency dispatch operator for the City of Rochester, to responding to calls as a volunteer firefighter with the West Webster Fire Department, Tomasz showed an unrivaled commitment to helping others and a selflessness that set the bar high for future generations to come.
As brothers in service, Tomasz viewed Chip as a mentor; in turn, Chip tutored and protected Tomasz as if he were a son.
It is in the line of public service that these two friends would be taken from this Earth. On December 24, 2012, Chip and Tomasz were responding to a fire in the early morning darkness when a gunman opened fire and took their lives. Tomasz, as was his selfless nature, was on duty that morning so that other firefighters who are fathers could be at home with their families on Christmas Eve.
There is little we can say to provide comfort to the neighbors, friends and family of Chip and Tomasz. Words, no matter their eloquence, fail to heal a pain which cannot be forgotten, and a loss that cannot be undone.
Together Chip and Tomasz served alongside the distinguished men and women of the West Webster Fire Department--a family they loved like their own. When Chip and Tomasz were fallen by gun fire, their fellow firefighters had to persevere through the fear and pain, and bravely put out the fires that threatened to take more lives. Now, these brave firefighters grieve for the loss of their family members, while honoring them the best way they know how--through the work they do every day.
I urge my fellow Members of Congress to follow the example of the West Webster Fire Department and honor Chip and Tomasz with the actions we take. Over the last two months, more than 900 Americans, including Chip and Tomasz, have been killed with a gun. This endless string of tragedies must be no more. Now is the time for Congress to enact a comprehensive and commonsense reform to our nation's gun laws, and renew our commitment to a mental health system that has been neglected for far too long.
While no legislation can bring back Chip and Tomasz, nor fill the void left at their dinner tables every night, putting an end to senseless acts of gun violence can ensure that even in death, these two brave heroes will continue to save lives.
Chip and Tomasz were a shining example of what we know to be true: that in America [[Page E52]] we are united, that as long as we walk this Earth we are committed to protecting one another and in so doing we will realize the promise of a better world. In their brave and selfless actions Chip and Tomasz lived this promise to each other, and now it is our turn to do the same.