In the weeks and months following 9-11, it became apparent that those who lost their lives that day included many whom we now recognize as quiet heroes. Lt. Charles (Chuck) Margiotta was one of those; certainly not quiet but someone who left a huge void in our lives.
Chuck was a lot of things, Jay wrote: a football player, movie stuntman and 20-year veteran of the Fire Department just to name a few. He had a tough exterior, matched only by his soft interior. He was a friend to most, a hero to many, and a larger than life personality to everyone even before he died.
Chuck lived almost all of his life in the same neighborhood where he was born, graduating from St. Rita’s before entering Farrell and graduating in 1975. He parlayed his football abilities as a tight end with his academic prowess to gain acceptance into Brown University, where his football team won the 1976 Ivy League title.
He graduated with a double major in English and sociology, and after working for General Motors, joined the FDNY in 1981, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant.
Off the job, he loved to hunt and fish and ride his motorcycle. He worked as a movie stuntman, a private investigator and a substitute teacher. He played football for the FDNY team, as well as touch tackle. In his neighborhood he was known as everyone’s friend, who never refused to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He was difficult not to like.
Beneath his forbidding exterior the stern facade, the tattoos and 240 pounds of muscle, Chuck was a gardener who nurtured tomato plants alongside Ladder Co. 85 in New Dorp; a caring neighbor who ran into the street in his pajamas to help an elderly woman who had fallen; a loving father who coached his kids’ basketball, softball and soccer teams and who ran the sports program at his old grammar school.
He was driving home from Brooklyn after working a “mutual” for another officer Sept. 11 when he heard the news on the radio, turned off the Staten Island Expressway and found the Rescue Co. 5 truck ready to go. He jumped on the rig and sped to the World Trade Center with the guys from Concord. He died along with 342 other firefighters on that tragic day.
There are a number of tributes to his memory, but the one that most people associate with him is the annual Chuck Margiotta Brains, Brawn & Bravery Bike Run that takes place every spring at Farrell. The event draws upwards of 300-plus motorcyclists who travel in procession to the parking lot on Amboy Road for a day of fun, celebration and raising money for the annual Farrell scholarship given in Charlie’s name.
He’s missed every day, especially by his wife Norma and his children, Norma Jean and Charles Vito II (Class of 2008) — who followed in his father’s footsteps by playing football at Farrell – and his parents and brother. And, of course, thousands of others whose lives he touched forever.