Retired firefighter honors best friend who died from 9/11 illness
A retired FDNY firefighter is planning to mark this year's solemn anniversary with a special gift honoring his best friend, a NYPD officer who died of cancer related to his time at Ground Zero.
NEW YORK - When Wayne Forte lost his best friend, NYPD Officer Scott Blackshaw to 9/11-related cancer, he knew something needed to be done in his honor.
"He was like another older brother to me," Forte said. "When the hearse pulled up with him in it I kind of got the idea."
Wayne who is a retired FDNY firefighter came up with the idea to retrofit a Ford-F350 to carry future fallen officers. Forte believes it will be the first ceremonial unit of its kind in the Department.
"For Scott in memory of him and for every other police officer," Forte said.
He’s putting the finishing touches on the truck and decking it out in Department decals.
"Cleaned it up, put a flower holder on the top of the utility bed, installed a motorcycle lift which will be a casket lift," Forte said.
Wayne will be escorted into the city to deliver the truck to the NYPD on Friday morning. He hopes it will never have to be used but in the event that it will be - it will honor his friend.
"I really hope I never see it being used but when it is, it will be nice to see that at least in memory of Scott it was used in the Department," he said.
Wayne bought the truck with fundraising money and says he knew it was the one the first time he started it up.
"I put the key in the ignition, I turn the key to start it and the clock said 9:11," he said.
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