Parks Dept. forgets slain guard whose son became 9/11 hero
Police Officer James Leahy’s selfless bravery on September 11, 2001 stays indelible — however the metropolis has brushed apart the person who impressed his heroics.
Leahy, a 38-year-old father of three, was two miles away from the World Commerce Heart when he witnessed the primary aircraft explode into the north tower. He and his associate left the protection of their Greenwich Village beat to race downtown.
There, the Staten Island native headed into the flames — with none protecting gear — to help within the rescue effort, pausing solely to depart a reassuring voicemail message for his spouse and younger sons.
They by no means heard from him once more. Leahy, final seen climbing the smoky stairs of the north tower with an armload of oxygen tanks for the firefighters above, died within the constructing’s collapse.
“Hero isn’t a large enough phrase to explain Jimmy,” Police Officer Victor Laguer, his associate, stated on the time.
Three generations of Leahys have devoted their lives to New York Metropolis’s public service. However whereas the NYPD has honored James in numerous solemn observances, the Parks Division has uncared for the reminiscence of his father Arthur, a safety guard murdered within the line of obligation in 1975.
“After my father was killed, that’s all me and my brother talked about, changing into law enforcement officials,” James’s child brother Arthur III, now 54 and an NYPD detective, advised The Submit. “You wished to be the nice man, the man that stops it earlier than it occurs to anyone else.”
“My grandfather Arthur’s demise was a stepping stone to my dad’s entire character,” stated James’s son John, 27, a New York Metropolis firefighter. “He had a lot accountability at such a younger age. He took care of everybody.”
James, the oldest of the 5 Leahy kids, was solely 13 when Arthur was slain on the city-owned La Tourette Golf Course in Staten Island.
A trio of thieves bent on stealing the hyperlinks’ weekend earnings shot Arthur and beat him with golf golf equipment as he fought off their theft try.
However after years of damaged guarantees, the flower backyard that the Parks Division pledged to establish within the Leahy patriarch’s reminiscence stays unplanted.
Its meant web site, a grassy site visitors circle studded with goose droppings in entrance of the LaTourette clubhouse, incorporates solely a crumbling flagpole and a list signpost designating the house as “Arthur C. Leahy Circle,” unveiled in 2015 by then-Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
“They advised us there was extra to return,” stated Arthur’s widow Jeannette Leahy, 81.
“He gave his life, and that was unprecedented within the Parks Division,” stated Denise Leahy Henick, 57. “We really feel there needs to be correct recognition for that sacrifice, in order that my father is just not forgotten.”
The household’s makes an attempt to get Parks to finish the memorial have been caught between the division and American Golf, the California-based firm that manages La Tourette and 4 different city-owned programs.
“At one level we have been advised there was no sprinkler system within the circle,” Arthur III stated. “They stated in the event that they planted the backyard we must come water it ourselves, one way or the other.”
Images of the site visitors circle present flowering annuals and decorative shrubs thriving there in 2004 and 2012.
Regardless of the signage, La Tourette staff stated they don’t know who Leahy was or why his identify seems outdoors their office.
“I simply inform folks they should Google it,” supervisor Sam DePaola stated. “I want I knew extra.”
American Golf didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Leahy’s homicide is one in every of simply two line-of-duty deaths in Parks Division historical past, spokeswoman Meghan Lalor confirmed.
“We’re completely satisfied to debate the feasibility of a backyard at this web site with the Leahy household,” Lalor stated.