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MAY 12, 2006


Rider University,
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrence Township

During the morning of Friday, May 12, 2006, volunteers from Lawrence Road Fire Co. responded to the Rider University campus to standby as a precaution for the arrival and departure of a helicopter whose passengers
were New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre and his family.

In protecting the Yankee skipper, the crew of Lawrence Road’s Rescue 22 was following in the grand tradition of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY)’s Engine Co. 68 and Ladder Co. 49, who from their firehouse in the South Bronx respond first-due to Yankee Stadium to protect the Yankees and their fans.

Lawrence Road Fire Co. is "first-due to Rider U."

Torre, his wife, and their daughter traveled to Lawrence Township to take part in Rider University’s 141st Commencement graduation ceremonies.

The Yankees leader and his wife, Alice, were each presented honorary doctoral degrees by Rider University in recognition of their work with The Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness of and prevent domestic violence, and also help those children who have experienced violence in the home.

“Joe Torre has distinguished himself through a long baseball career capped by his success as manager of the New York Yankees,” Rider President Mordechai Rozanski said in a news release issued by the university.

“He not only has brought much joy to many Yankees fans, but has also demonstrated strong leadership and exemplary integrity on and off the field. Ali Torre’s work as president of The Joe Torre Foundation, which combats domestic violence and its devastating effect on children, provides our graduates a wonderful model of community engagement,” Rozanski said.

Lawrence Road firefighters had been prepared to report to Rider at 8 a.m. to standby for Torre’s arrival by helicopter. However, because of the threat of rain, Torre and his family arrived at Rider’s campus by limousine in time for the 9:30 a.m. start of graduation ceremonies.

The weather soon cleared and it proved to be a bright, sunny day. Because the Yankees were scheduled to play a game against the Oakland Athletics later that day at Yankee Stadium, it was decided that a helicopter would be used to expedite the Torre family’s return to New York.

At 11 a.m. a request was made by Rider University officials to Lawrence Road Fire Co. for firefighters to provide fire protection to the Torre family for their departure.

Rescue 22 immediately reported to the campus.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Assistant Chief Shaun Dlabik, driven by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, and crewed by Ff. Evan Kutzin and Ff. Jarred Pierson.

Accompanying Rescue 22 was Deputy Chief Chris Pangaldi in Car 22-1.

The designated landing area for the helicopter was a sports field at the rear of the campus. Firefighters arrived in time to survey the scene for hazards and position their apparatus to affect a fast response in the event of an emergency.

Standing by with Lawrence Road firefighters were a Capital Health System ambulance crew and a contingent of Lawrence Township police.

Soon, the helicopter arrived and made a safe landing. Within ten minutes, Torre and his family were escorted to the landing area by Rider officials.

Before he departed, Torre met with Lawrence Road firefighters, shaking everyone’s hand and then graciously posing for several photographs with the crew next to Rescue 22.

He also happily signed an autograph on Deputy Chief Pangaldi’s helmet.

Torre and his family then boarded the helicopter, which made a successful take off and safely returned the skipper and his family to New York.

As a matter of record, the New York Yankees defeated the Oakland A’s by a score of 2 to 0 during that evening’s game.

The officers and members of Lawrence Road Fire Co. would like to offer our thanks to Mr. Torre for his kindness. Mr. Torre is a genuinely friendly man. He is truly a class act.

We wish him and his wife continued success with the mission of The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, and also eagerly support him and the New York Yankees.

For more information on The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, please visit

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe & Lawrence Road Fire Co.

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