Responders

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James McGovern is the Deputy Chief of the New York City Department of Sanitation and is a New York City native.  Chief McGovern was raised in Yorkville and Rockaway Beach, the latter being a neighborhood located in Queens, New York.  Chief McGovern was first an officer of the NYPD but did not complete the training because of an injury.  When he recovered from his injury, he instead became a member of the Sanitation Department for New York City.  Chief McGovern would study and obtain both his bachelor’s degree and later his master’s degree in education.  Chief McGovern has been a member of the Sanitation Department for almost twenty years.  Before Hurricane Sandy hit, he was in his home in Rockaway Beach, and he evacuated his mother, so she would be safe.  Chief McGovern assisted with the cleanup during the aftermath of the superstorm, in both cleaning up and planning the process.  Chief McGovern was heavily affected by the storm, as his home was heavily damaged and he was forced to live in his garage for an extended amount of time. 

Detective Steven Stefanakos is an officer of the New York Police Department, and currently serves in the Emergency Service Unit, or the ESU.  Born in November of 1967 in Queens, he was raised on Long Island, eventually getting a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1989.  Later in his life, he underwent training to become an officer of the NYPD, and eventually completed his training in 1991.  Detective Stefanakos would be assigned to the Emergency Service Unit, which he is still assigned to today, and is an instructor for at the 101st precinct.  He was one of the first policemen on the scene of the attack of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, helping rescue and evacuate civilians during 9/11.  Unfortunately, he had two friends who passed away during the attacks because they were able to finish preparing thirty seconds before him, went into the building, and never came out.  In 2015, he was on the news for saving the life of a woman by convincing her to step away from the edge of the Kosciuszko Bridge, where she was prepared to jump off and take her own life.  During the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Detective Stefanakos met then-President Barack Obama, and even had a quote regarding the terrorist attack in the newspaper, saying “Every day is a memory of that day.”  

Captain Jose Ramos is a resident of New Jersey and is an officer of the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue.  Born and raised on the Upper West Side, Captain Ramos received his education at a technical school before he pursued his career as a firefighter.  Commander Ramos discusses his personal experience of being on duty during the storm in Hoboken, New Jersey.  His detailed stories provide insight into the character of the Fire Department’s role in responding to the emergency.  Ramos gives details on the types of calls received in the firehouse during the storm’s immediate aftermath.  This commander’s experience provides an interesting perspective and firsthand witness to the smaller, less news-covered traumas that together made up the bulk of Sandy’s trauma.