Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a series that will give everyone a front-row seat to the collection at the Franklin Square Museum, which will open to the public as soon as possible.
Firefighter Thomas Hetzel, a Franklin Square resident, died as a hero at the World Trade Center in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Hetzel was active in the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department, as well as in other local organizations. There is a plaque dedicated in his memory at the September 11 Memorial at Rath Park, and there is also one at Plattduetsche Park, which recognizes his heroism as well as his German-American heritage.
This firefighter’s coat, which will be on display at the museum, was used by Thomas Hetzel in his work with the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department. It was presented to the Franklin Square Historical Society by the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department at the Society’s Annual Dinner in 2002, when the fire department was honored by the community for its extraordinary efforts. The coat represents a moving and enduring memorial to one of Franklin Square’s true heroes.
The Franklin Square Historical Society invites all residents of Franklin Square to join our society and receive our monthly newsletter with details of the upcoming grand opening of the museum. Check our website for updates on the museum opening at: www.fshistoricalsociety.org .
Dr. Paul Van Wie is the president of the Franklin Square Historical Society.