For Camaraderie's Sake
After a 1981 stint in Beirut with the United States Marines, John Chipura wanted to serve the city of his birth by becoming a New York City policeman, and rose through the ranks for more than a decade to the rank of detective.
But Mr. Chipura yearned for the camaraderie of the firehouse; his brother, Gerard, was a fireman, as their father, Anthony, had been. In August, 1998, Mr. Chipura achieved his dream.
Thus it was that on Tuesday, after the terrorist attack, suiting up with Ladder Company 105 on Dean Street in Brooklyn, that John phoned his fiance, Gina DeFalco, to ask if she had any news of his sister Nancy, who worked in the World Trade Center.
"There wasn't any news," said Ms. DeFalco, "but later, when I heard that Nancy was safe, I called John to tell him. But his ladder company had already left." John and the five other firefighters in the truck have not been heard from since. Gerard Chipura, who survived, waits along with Ms. DeFalco, who refuses to give up hope; she and Mr. Chipura planned to marry on Oct. 27.
"The only good thing," she said, "is that he is with the guys he worked with, and loved."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 24, 2001.