Dennis Burgos, a beloved member of the Onondaga Community College family passed away over the weekend. He was 53 years old. Burgos had worked at the College for five years. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force and a retired New York State Trooper. Burgos contracted lung cancer as a result of his work as a Trooper in New York City in the days and weeks after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Calling hours and a funeral mass are scheduled for later this week. OCC President Casey Crabill shared the news of Burgos’ passing with the campus community in the following message:
It is with a deep sense of sadness I share with you the news of the passing of a member of our OCC family, Dennis Burgos. Dennis was a Security Guard in our Department of Campus Safety and Security. He had an infectious smile and a kind word for everyone he came in contact with. His caring, compassion and optimism never wavered despite the struggle he was going through.
Before coming to OCC Dennis was a member of the New York State Police. On September 11, 2001, Dennis was sent to New York City to help secure the area around Ground Zero. Like so many of our brave first responders who headed toward the danger as tens of thousands of people headed in the other direction, the air Dennis breathed in the days following the attacks eventually sickened him and he contracted lung cancer.
In the final years of Dennis’ life, he openly talked about what he was going through. During each conversation he always had the remarkable ability to make you feel better and put a smile on your face. Three months ago during our annual 9/11 Remembrance ceremony, our Director of Campus Safety and Security Dave Wall honored Dennis by presenting him a 9/11 lapel pin from the White House. The inscription on the pin read, “United in Memory. September 11, 2001.”
Dennis passed away Saturday, December 9. Even though he is gone we are united in his memory and his spirit will live on. In his darkest hours he was often our brightest light. We send our condolences to his family, those who worked closest with him in the Department of Campus Safety and Security and our entire campus community.