Vernon Paul Cherry

Vernon Paul Cherry
World Trade Center

The Wedding Singer

It is the singing, more than anything else, that keeps Vernon Cherry so vivid in their minds. A Brooklyn firefighter who moonlighted as a wedding singer, Mr. Cherry, 49, sang it all and he sang it everywhere: Barry White in the firehouse, Frank Sinatra at weddings, the national anthem at Fire Department promotion ceremonies.

"He would just sing," said Raymond Thomas, a firefighter who worked with him for 11 years at Ladder Company 118 in Brooklyn Heights. "He would be walking up the stairs, in the locker room, taking a shower. He had such a beautiful voice. I used to ask him: 'Sing me a song, Vernon. Vernon, sing 'Always and Forever.' He wouldn't do the whole song, just short bits and pieces."

Mr. Cherry, a 28-year veteran of the Fire Department, was known at Ladder 118 as "Vernon Mo," because he called everybody else "Mo." And there was his lasagna, "Lasagna Mo."

"He put mushrooms in it," Mr. Thomas said. "He used every pot in the firehouse. We tried to discourage him from cooking. I mean we loved it, but he had to use every pot in the house."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 17, 2001.

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