Another Jewish hero was lost two weeks ago, this one on the ground, only a few miles from Ground Zero, where his uncle perished on Sept. 11.
Just a few days before Col. Ilan Ramon was killed in the Shuttle Columbia disaster, Saul and Sue Zucker of North Massapequa, L.I., who lost a son, Andrew, on 9-11, learned that their 20-year-old firefighter grandson was killed while driving to school in Brookville, L.I.
Jeffrey Mosenson, the oldest child of their daughter Gayle, lost control of his truck on an ice-slicked road and struck a tree Jan. 28. He was driving alone to classes at the New York Institute of Technology in Westbury when the accident occurred at 9:30 a.m.
Mosenson, a firefighter since he was 16, had volunteered or worked as a dispatcher at four fire departments on Long Island. For the past three years he was a volunteer with the Jericho Fire Department and served as an emergency medical technician with the Commack Fire Department.
"He accomplished more in his 20 years than many men do in a lifetime," said Saul Zucker.
In the Mosensons’ Woodbury home Monday evening, Gayle’s parents; her brother, Stuart; and sister, Cheryl Shames, spoke of Jeffrey’s dedication to helping others. And they spoke of the funeral at Temple Chaverim in Plainview that was attended by an estimated 2,000 mourners who filled the sanctuary and the outer halls.
"I didn’t know 90 percent of them," said Jeffrey’s father, David. "They all came because he made a profound impact on every life he touched. Everybody has another story of how Jeffrey affected their lives."
Jeffrey had occasionally told them of his actions, like the time he kept a seriously injured boy conscience until an ambulance arrived. The boy had flipped over the handlebars of his bike. And on the wall of his room is a plaque from the Jericho Fire Department for his search and rescue efforts on Sept. 11 "in the face of extreme danger in the wake of the nation’s worst act of terrorism." He was unaware at the time that his uncle Andrew, 27, a lawyer at Harris Beech on the 85th floor of Tower 2, had been killed.
Another wall of his room is filled with certificates attesting to his completion of courses offered to firefighters.
"He went to every class imaginable," said his father. "He was the most devoted firefighter. He received awards in 2000 for the most calls responded to and the most hours working in the fire department."
And there were gold, silver and bronze medals he had won in the Maccabi Games playing roller hockey on the Mid-Island Y JCC team. For the past two years Jeffrey coached the Yís baseball team.
"He was going to college to become a physician’s assistant," said his mother. "He didn’t want to become an MD because he didn’t see any excitement in that. Every day he wanted the thrill of the unknown."