A very special group of Staten Islanders attended a special Staten Island Yankees Baseball game over the weekend, all for a great cause.
"My husband loved this team and he loved coming to this ballpark and looking at the World Trade Center's Twin Towers," Joanne Barbara told Pix 11 as she showed a picture of her late husband. "This picture was taken in July of 2001, here, just two months before he died," she added.
Jerry's friends and family filled the stadium for the 10th annual Chief Jerry Barbara night at Richmond County Bank ballpark.
Barbara was a 31-year veteran of the FDNY who was assistant Chief of Department on September 11th. He was last seen commanding the rescue effort in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center:
"He was a great guy, who loved his family and his job," Steve Rosendale, Jerry's friend and retired battalion chief said. "He'd be in hog heaven to see this crowd. Oh wait, he is in heaven now."
Throwing out the first pitch in the game against the Williamsport Crosscutters were Jerry's son and daughter and the four grandchildren he never met.
"My Thomas is a lot like his grandfather, same personality," Caren Barbara Villarreal said.
"It wasn't easy to throw out the pitch with this little guy helping me," Jerry's son, Paul Barbara said, holding his two-year-old son Luke.
Money raised by raffle tickets at the game will go to the FDNY chief Jerry Barbara scholarship fund.
"We give money to firefighters studying for exams," Keith Tanico, president of the FDNY Columbia Association said. "Particularly those of Italian-American heritage.
The scholarship fund also help graduates of Grady High School in Brooklyn, Where Barbara attended.
And even though Jerry wasn't here to enjoy the game, his legacy lives on at jerryslegacy.org. Check it out to make a donation.
"We love PIX 11 for spreading the word," Jerry's widow Joanne said as she gave me a big hug.