The college paid tribute to one of its heroes during Monday’s 9/11 Remembrance ceremonies. Dennis Burgos, a member of OCC’s Campus Safety and Security team, was presented a 9/11 lapel pin from the White House which read “United in Memory September 11, 2001.” At the time of the terrorist attack, Burgos was a New York State Trooper who was sent to New York City on September 11. He is presently undergoing treatment for cancer due to the air quality at Ground Zero 16 years ago. “We will never forget the people we lost that day,” said Burgos. “I just want everyone to come together and be one. Thank you for everything. I appreciate your support.”
Burgos was honored during the annual remembrance ceremony on the south side of the Whitney Applied Technology Center. The event included singing by Music Professor David J. Rudari, D.M.A., musical performances by students Jack Wiley and Sydney Alley and remarks from Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Daria Willis and Professor Dr. Crystal Etzel. First responders from Onondaga Hill Fire Department and TLC Ambulance joined the campus community for the event. There was also a moment of silence for alumna Wendy Faulkner who lost her life on that day. A single red rose was placed next to her Alumni Faces plaque in the Gordon Student Center.
Other related events included a panel discussion which gave participants and attendees the opportunity to reflect on 9/11 and the days that followed. Panelists included Peter Alberti, former Onondaga County Emergency Management Director; Rebecca Hoda-Kearse, OCC’s Associate Vice President of Student Engagement and New York City resident at the time of the 9/11 attacks; and Dan Cummings, Managing Editor and Anchor/Reporter for WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Burgos was in attendance at the event and also shared his reflections on the day.
In the Gordon Student Center, a “Thank You” banner in appreciation of our first responders was available for members of the campus community to sign. Complimentary beverages for all Veterans, active duty military and first responders were served throughout the day.