Grand Island Firefighters honor fallen hero as he passes through to his final resting place

November 1, 2019

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

We are eternally grateful to Lt. Crotty for his service and sacrifice. We are also incredibly grateful to all of those who serve and protect us – including these fine individuals from the Grand Island Fire Company!

The department posted these photos on Facebook – along with these poignant words:

“Earlier this morning, Lt. Thomas Crotty returned home and was laid to rest in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.

Lt. Crotty was the only Coast Guardsman to serve in the Defense of the Philippines, and was the first Coast Guard prisoner of war since the war of 1812, and one of four USCG POW’s during WWII.

Lt. Crotty served in four different military branches while deployed to the Philippines. He also managed and coached Buffalo’s 1929 American Legion Junior National Baseball Championship team and he was class president during his time at the Coast Guard Academy.

GIFC firefighters and Grand Island Town employees were proud to stand and honor the fallen hero as he passed through Grand Island and on to his final resting place.


I was so touched to see this incredible display of honor that I contacted the GIFD and asked why it was important for them to stand tall as this hero passed by,  “The greatest sacrifice a member of our Armed Forces can make is to give their life in service to this nation,” said Captain John Podlucky of the Grand Island Fire Department, who is also an Air Force Reserve, Master Sergeant, with 18-years of service, “It’s a debt that can never be repaid. Eighty years ago, Lieutenant Crotty gave his life defending the very freedoms that founded this country and that we still we enjoy today. We owe it to him to show him our gratitude, and that we will never forget the sacrifice he made for his fellow citizens.”

God Bless Lt. Thomas Crotty and God Bless America



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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