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Remembering the Dispatcher Lost on 9/11

Author: Randall D. Larson, Editor 9-1-1 Magazine

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

Date: 2015-09-10
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Right: The original photograph by John C. Fine that became the cover of our Nov/Dec 2011 issue, covering the events of 9/11 from the perspective of the responders and the dispatchers who experienced it.

I’ve written many columns and articles reflecting on the response, the reflection, and the ongoing recovery from the horrors of September 11, 2001. Since the frantic days of assembling the news, articles, and images for our comprehensive coverage of 9/11 as seen through responders and dispatchers that comprised our Nov/Dec 2011 issue (and which I feel remains my very best effort as editor of 9-1-1 magazine), we’ve continued to honor the sacrifice made by so many, and the efforts of many more who survived but still carry the scars, the post-incident trauma, and the troublesome internal physical affects they brought home with them. It is right and proper that we honor these men and woman, responders and civilians, Americans and foreigners, who came to aid the injured, the displaced, and the heartbroken in the days and the decade since that awful Tuesday morning. 

I believe these anniversary reflections are valid memorials in thought and text to all of those who perished.  September 11th, 2001 is not a day for one to be complacent.  As a nation we’ve grown so terribly apart from one another, especially in homeland conflicts of recent times, it’s worth remembering the day in which we all came together, as one, in support of so many who were lost through the intent of a murderous ideology.

For this year’s consideration, I want to remember a sacrifice that may have become forgotten amidst the honorable recognition of the deaths of firefighters, police, medics, and civilians who came to help in that time of devastation and distress.  We covered it in that issue, fourteen years ago come November, and it’s valuable to remember it again.  Dispatchers in Manhattan, Arlington, and in Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland and Somerset counties, were affected and faced the challenges of 9/11 with the same dedication and purpose that their field responders did – but one made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Jersey City Fire Department dispatcher/EMT/canteen volunteer Joseph Lovero responded from off-duty to support JCFD’s crews that were assigned to support operations at the World Trade Center.  As a dedicated photographer, he may have joined his team-mates to document their rescue efforts through is camera lens, as he had done frequently; subsequent considerations suggest he may also have gone in to support the JCFD responders’ communications needs on site; both were tasks he was involved with in his job with the JCFD at home. Whatever the motivation, Joseph joined his department’s firefighters in supporting FDNY personnel when the towers fell, and he lost his life along with the 343 FDNY firefighters  killed during the collapse.

“Joe was assisting a FDNY Battalion Chief when the 2nd tower came down,” reads a memorial page at firehouse.com. “They ran for cover, the Battalion Chief survived, Joe was seriously injured, and the Battalion Chief found him in the rubble when the smoke cleared and had him transported to St. Vincent's hospital where he died. His body lay in the morgue with [FDNY] Chief Ganci and [FDNY chaplain] Father Judge for several days.”

Here is the story about Joseph Lovero from our Nov/Dec 2011 issue:

Line of Duty Death of Jersey City Fire Dispatcher, Joseph Lovero

On Sunday, September 9th, 2001, Jersey City (NJ) Fire Dispatcher, Joseph Lovero celebrated his 60th birthday.  Joe certainly did not look or act his age.  Often using his uncanny witty humor to liven things up around the dispatch center.  Joe was always there when you needed him, he even showed up when you didn’t… just in case.

On September 11th, after the first plane attacked the World Trade Center, Joe, an avid fire photographer, responded within minutes to lower Manhattan. Grouped up with Jersey City Fire units on the scene, Joe and the command staff from Jersey City Fire were approaching the FDNY command post to report in, when the towers began to collapse. Everyone became separated in the desperate attempt to flee the falling debris. Several blocks away, the Jersey City units began to regroup, and there was no sign of Joe.

After the collapse of the first tower, an EMS unit found Joe, apparently suffering traumatic injuries from the falling debris, and was able to transport him to St. Vincent’s Trauma Center, near the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, the valiant attempt to stabilize Joe proved unsuccessful.

Joe’s dedication to the fire service began almost 60 years ago. Growing up near a firehouse, Joe and his friends were regulars at E19 and L8. Often noted for playing out fire calls, building and organizing his own fire company out of an old baby carriage with a bunch of his friends.  Joe always had a connection with the Fire Service.  Joe was a life member of the Gong Club, a canteen service that would provide refreshment and food to firefighter at scenes of major incidents, serving as its deputy chief for many years.  Joe also worked as an EMT for Jersey City as well, receiving several commendations.  In 2000, Joe received the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief, presented by the Jersey City Fire Director, recognizing Joe’s dedication and lifelong service to the Fire Department.

Both Jersey City and New York City are considering Joe's death as "Line of Duty" and will receive all that customarily accompanies that recognition.  Joe received a full departmental funeral, with representatives from around the country.  The firefighters of Engine 19 and Ladder 8 formed an honor guard to pay tribute.  He is survived by his daughters, Maxine McCormick and Joanne Mahon, his son James, and brothers James (who ironically passed away at the end of October) and Michael, a retired Jersey City firefighter who is now working as a fire dispatcher for JCFD.

- Matt Ziemkiewicz
  Dispatch Supervisor, Jersey City FD, October 2001.

In honor of their fallen dispatcher, the Jersey City Fire Department named its new fireboat the Joseph Lovero.  Among its subsequent tasks was escorting the USS New York, a new Navy ship partially crafted with steel from the World Trade Center wreckage, up the Hudson River in 2012.
Photo "Marine 1 Fdjc" by Bergenhill at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marine_1_Fdjc.jpg#/media/File:Marine_1_Fdjc.jpg

Further Resources:
All of 9-1-1 Magazine’s original coverage on 9/11 has been archived on this web site. Peruse the index page of all the articles here: 
http://www.9-1-1magazine.com/Sept-11th-Ten-Years-Later-Grouping

 

 

 

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