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Casino Night Raises Funds For 9/11 Firefighters Memorial

Fox Hollow hosts event to help pay for exhibit, which will honor Nassau County firefighters lost a decade ago.

Ten years seems like a long time, but to many, it seems the events of September 11, 2001 happened only yesterday. The images of that day will never be forgotten, and one more is about to be added. This one, however, will be in Nassau County, and is one of honor.

The Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Uniondale will be unveiling a 9/11 exhibit and memorial, to commemorate the lives of the 18 Nassau volunteer firefighters that lost their lives that tragic day.

The memorial will be on display later this summer through the fall. It's a $70,000 exhibit, and to help defray the cost, folks anted up at on Wednesday. The restaurant was transformed into a Vegas casino for a night of gambling - all bets on this night were safe ones, as proceeds go to the museum.

"After ten years, we feel [the 18 lost] need the recognition," said museum chair Angelo Catalano, himself a retired firefighter from North Bellmore. "We're putting a lot of time and effort into this [exhibit] to make sure they're recognized."

Blackjack, slots, roulette: whatever your game, it was at Fox Hollow. Funds were also raised through raffles and silent auctions for jewelery, gift certificates, and autographed memorabilia from famous athletes and celebrities.

The display will feature a section for each of the 18 who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11. That includes Ronnie Gies, a NYC firefighter from Merrick. His family hopes the exhibit will keep Ronnie's memory alive for those that never met him, but know what he did. 

"I think [the museum] is a great place for kids to go, and now having this monument for the firefighters that died...I think it's wonderful," said Ronnie's widow, Carol.

As we get further away from the day our world changed forever, 9/11 may be pushed into the back of folk's minds. Catalano said that's why the memorial is important, as the tenth anniversary approaches.

"I think it's still in everyone's head, we're not going to forget," Catalano said. "We're going to make sure nobody forgets."

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