The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:
Council Member Mark Treyger was joined on Saturday morning by hundreds of Gravesend residents and FDNY members to co-name the corner of West 11th Street and Highlawn Avenue “Firefighter William ‘Billy’ Tropea Way” in honor of the longtime firefighter and 9/11 hero who passed away in 2010 from cancer contracted in the aftermath of the terror attack.
Billy was born on July 14, 1956 and was raised in Gravesend, attending P.S. 215, David A. Boody Intermediate School, John Dewey High School and Brooklyn College. He began his career as a New York City firefighter in 1987 and was honored to give back to his community in this capacity. He served the city for over 22 years at Engine 245, Ladder 161 and Battalion 43 in Coney Island as a firefighter and aide to the Battalion Chief. In addition to being a firefighter, Billy was remembered as an accomplished pianist, competitive athlete, handyman, gardener and dedicated family man, especially to his children, Samantha and Billy.
At Saturday’s ceremony, Billy’s family and friends shared stories highlighting some of the many ways he helped others, including complete strangers, without ever seeking the spotlight. The ceremony featured the FDNY color guard and FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums and was attended by hundreds of Billy’s friends and neighbors and dozens of his former FDNY colleagues. Following remarks from Billy’s wife Janet, friends Chris Bruno, Robert Glynn and Lt. Michael Duran, George Frenzel of the local block association, Council Member Treyger, Senator Marty Golden and Borough President Eric Adams, the family unveiled the new sign at W. 11th Street and Highlawn Avenue designating the block “Firefighter William ‘Billy’ Tropea Way.”
“I am proud to help ensure that Billy Tropea’s life and legacy will be honored for generations to come by dedicating this street in his memory. By all accounts, Billy was a remarkable person who was committed to helping others however possible, whether as a member of the FDNY or simply as a great neighbor. It was incredibly touching to hear his family and friends share their memories and stories of Billy at Saturday’s ceremony. It was also great to see so many of Billy’s friends and nearly the entire block take the time to remember this great individual,” said Council Member Treyger.
“Co-naming W. 11th Street at Highlawn Avenue in my husband’s name was a true honor. He was a man who led his live helping others in any way he possibly could. My family, including our daughter Samantha, son-in-law Joe, grandson Joseph and son Billy are extremely proud, grateful and blessed to have had Billy in our lives. Whenever someone drives or walks past this sign, please remember to show an act of kindness that day, as Billy did every day of his life,” said Janet Tropea.
Council Member Treyger also extended his thanks to the Tropea family, the FDNY and everyone who played a role in making this co-naming happen, including West 11th Street Block Association President George Frenzel, Council Member David Greenfield and Assembly Member Bill Colton.