NEW YORK CITY - The honorary starters for the 2023 Tower Climb NYC are three ladies who, in the midst of their grief, were able to find friendship and support with each other.
Irene Sullivan lost her husband, FDNY Lt. Brian Sullivan of Squad Company 41 in the Bronx, in August 2019 when he suffered a heart attack after a grueling 24-hour shift where he responded to seven emergency calls, including a fire.
FDNY Lt. Brian Sullivan of Squad Company 41 in the Bronx.
Shannon Slutman lost husband Christopher, a U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and FDNY firefighter with Ladder 27 in the Bronx, just three months before Irene. Chris Slutman was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan when his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
Christopher Slutman, a US Marine Corp Staff Sergeant and FDNY firefighter with Ladder 27 in the Bronx.
Irene Maiello lost husband, FDNY Lt. Joe Maiello of Engine 163 Ladder 83 in Staten Island, in December 2021.
FDNY Lt. Joe Maiello of Engine 163 Ladder 83 in Staten Island.
Shannon said the three are bonded through what she calls "collateral beauty."
"It’s just this wonderful thing that you can look at and go ‘OK I lost this, and it’s not the same, but I gained this,'" Shannon said.
"It’s us, me, Shannon, our kids, all our friends, you know? You always see a collateral damage and when she said collateral beauty, I was like so accurate," Irene said.
All three know they will be cheered on in spirit by their husbands on Sunday, June 4 while holding close to "the beauty" they said that has come from "the damage."
LINK: More information about this year's climb can be found at www.t2t.org.