NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - John Chipura was an Eagle Scout, a Marine, an NYPD cop, and an FDNY firefighter. He achieved all that in 39 years before the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center cut short his life.
Gerard Chipura, John's brother, and Eric Bischoff, the Staten Island trustee for the Uniformed Firefighters Association and John's friend, came to Good Day New York to talk about their effort to honor John.
His family, friends, colleagues and some officials are pushing for the city's Department of Transportation to name one of the new Staten Island Ferry boats for him. To that end, the UFA has launched a petition on Change.org to gather signatures from supports calling on the city to name one boat Firefighter John G. Chipura, after the native Staten Islander. So far, the petition has more than 2,700 signatures. Organizers are aiming to collect 5,000 signatures and then deliver the petition to Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected leaders.
The organizers of the petition acknowledge that hundreds of local heroes from the FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority, and other agencies perished in the collapse of the Twin Towers. But they point to John's unique commitment and service to the Boy Scouts, Marines, police department, and fire department as symbolic of all heroes' sacrifice.
"John Chipura's amazing life story represents the distinguished honor and dedication to this country that every member of service strives to achieve. Naming the Ferry in his honor will remind people from all over the world of the heroism John Chipura embodied in all walks of his service," the petition reads. "From the Scouts, to the Marines, to the NYPD and the FDNY, John lived his life in service of his city, his state, and his country. It's hard to find a more fitting role model to bestow this honor on."
While serving in the Marines, John survived the bombing of the barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 U.S. troops and 58 French peacekeepers in 1983, Gerard, his brother, told Good Day.
After the Marines, John joined the NYPD and rose to the rank of detective. But after almost 12 years, he decided to make a change and follow in his dad's footsteps and become an FDNY firefighter.
"He was connecting with people on a daily basis, and that's why he chose service -- life of service, life of service, everything he thought about was service. We have his foundation that moves forward, and it's because of his life of service that we're able to do this and help people," Gerard said. "What better thing than to keep his memory alive by bringing that larger than life personality to a larger than life boat."
The city pledged to consult with Staten Islanders on the naming of three new ferry boats, but two have already been named.
"The City will work with the community and elected officials in considering the third name," said Ben Sarle, a spokesman for the mayor. "And we aware of the petitions for the fireman and others."
You can find the petition here.