on Brother Appuzio
the Rutgers Community Since 1869
events honor Appuzio
Stephanie Wynaleks / Metro
events are taking place throughout the day to honor the one-year
anniversary of the death of University student and volunteer firefighter
Appuzio, a Livingston College senior, brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon and
member of the East Franklin Fire Department, was killed in the line of
duty April 11, 2006, as he attempted to rescue an elderly woman from her
burning residence in Franklin Township.
Appuzio, 21, died after the house's first floor on which he was standing
collapsed into the basement, rendering him trapped for a certain amount
"When it first happened, I felt like I'd never be able to sleep
soundly again and never stop crying," said Erin Lynch, a Livingston
College fifth-year student and close friend of Appuzio. "Eventually
it stopped being so very hard every day. Then a few weeks ago, as the
date got closer, the feelings started back up."
Lynch requested the day off from her internship to attend today's
memorial events, which include a memorial mass at St. Michael's Church
in Union, a placement of flowers at Appuzio's grave, a noon dedication
ceremony of the Training Room at the Rutgers Public Safety Building, and
a candle lighting memorial at the monument dedicated to Appuzio at the
"I'm friends with almost all of the guys in the fire department, so
I'm going with them to the events," Lynch said. "I know a lot
of Kevin's fraternity brothers are going to be there, and a lot of other
people from Rutgers. It shows how much he was really loved around
George Wade, deputy chief of the East Franklin Fire Department, said the
schedule of events was decided upon through joint discussions between
Appuzio's family, the University and the fire department.
"It's been a long year for all of us, and this is an anniversary
we'll never forget," he said. "It is still a fresh wound for
everyone, and it will be for a long time for some. There's still a lot
that reminds us of what happened, and at times those who worked closely
with him have to relive similar situations. But time does help
candle lighting ceremony, which takes place at 6 p.m., will also include a
moment of silence. Funds for the monument to Appuzio, which stands at the
fire station, were raised by members of the department. A small walkway
leads up to the statue with messages from friends and family, Wade said.
"I think it's definitely going to be emotional at the events,"
Lynch said. "His family and close friends and fellow fire fighters
are all going to be there. We all have a joint perspective on
Lynch added, "Everyone who's going to be there, … he touched all of
their lives in some way. We all have a place in our hearts for him."
In addition, the Diocese of Metuchen will hold its annual mass honoring
fallen firefighters within the community this Saturday. Appuzio will be
among those remembered. "This year it hits especially close to
home," Wade said.
Lynch feels the events are an effective way to honor Appuzio.
"Everyone involved in the dedications has done a phenomenal
job," she said. "They're definitely putting Kevin's name out
there like it should be."
Still, she said, the tragedy of the loss is deeply felt.
"I think the overall mood hasn't really changed over a year. I think
it's just going through stages," Lynch said. "Everyone just
wishes he was still here and just can't believe it. Today is definitely
honoring his name exactly how it should be and how he was."
"I think for the rest of my life this day will stick out in my
mind," she added. "No matter what I do or how much time passes,
it has still affected my life. It's strange to be graduating college and
getting a job and having him not be here. He was just a very kind, caring,