TELLURIDE – Mayor Stu Fraser acknowledged the heroic efforts of New York Fire Department personnel in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center now coming up on their 10th anniversary by presenting 50 vacationing firefighters and fire officers with a key to the town earlier this week.
“It just lets them know how much we care about them,” Fraser said of the presentation that took place at the base of the gondola in Telluride early Monday morning.
The group, which arrived in town last Saturday after spending the first half of its annual weeklong ski trip “out West” in Crested Butte, included roughly even numbers of active and retired NYFD members, according to organizer Vinnie Savarese.
Savarese, who said he retired as a captain with Ladder Company 16 in Midtown Manhattan in 1997 some 30 years after joining “New York’s Bravest,” has been organizing the annual NYFD ski trip since 1995.
“That was quite a surprise,” Savarese said of the key.
“I think it’s quite an honor that the mayor chose to bestow that on us for our contribution [on 9/11],” he continued. “It was much appreciated.”
During Savarese’s tenure organizing the ski trip, the group, which varies in size every year and also does an annual East Coast trip, has skied in Telluride four times, this year included.
“We don’t try to figure out who’s going to have the best snow because you can’t predict that,” he explained. “We try to pick a place that everyone has an interest in going back to.”
Savarese had nothing but good to say about the experience.
“The Telluride ski area is one of my favorite places,” he said. “We have a lot of good skiers that really push themselves so they’re really at in Telluride, they like the steep and deep.”
The group also appreciated the invitation extended by its Telluride firefighting brethren to watch the Super Bowl last Sunday at the Elk’s Lodge.
“We really enjoy coming to Telluride, it is a great mountain and also it’s got some of the most friendly and outgoing people of any place we’ve ever visited,” he said.