Firefighter Chris Gaulrapp, born and raised in Middle Village, was honored for his heroism at our October 18th meeting with his wife, Jaclyn, and their 2 children, 10-year old Nora and 8-year old Christopher, in attendance.
Chris, the son of Helene and Ed Gaulrapp, grew up on 77th Place between Juniper Valley and 66th Roads. He was part of the St. Margaret's class of 1993 and Holy Cross High School class of 1997. He became a member of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps starting at the age of 15, starting as a dispatcher in the youth corps and later becoming an EMT. He attended St. Thomas Aquinas and John Jay Colleges until joining the FDNY as an EMT in 1999. In February of 2001, he was hired by the FDNY as a firefighter. After the academy he was assigned to Ladder 17 in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx.
In 2003 Gaulrapp was transferred to Squad 252 in Bushwick Brooklyn. In 2011 he joined Rescue 1 which covers the Borough of Manhattan. Chris' father is a retired firefighter who he credits with being the driving force behind why he himself joined the FDNY. Before his dad's retirement in 2004, they had the opportunity to work several tours together.
Gaulrapp, as a member of Rescue 1, was responsible for saving a drowning man in the Hudson River this past August 30th. He recalls:
We got an alarm for a person in the water at 43rd Street and the Hudson River which is only 2 blocks from our firehouse. When we arrived on scene, I saw civilians and NYPD Patrol Units leaning over the rail advising us that there was a person in the water trying to stay afloat, slowly drifting underneath the pier, and becoming very fatigued. On the way to the call, I had already put on my dry suit, life jacket, and fins, so at that point the rope was clipped to my harness and I jumped 12 feet into the water. I used a flotation device to keep the patient afloat until Engine 54 and Ladder 21 arrived with the ladder. The patient was very appreciative and kept saying thank you. This is all part of the training we go through. Everyone worked together as a team and that is the biggest part of any operation that we do. I was glad I was able to help.
After this heroic feat, Chris was deployed with FEMA's New York Task Force 1 (NYTF-1) which is an Urban Search and Rescue Team comprised of both NYPD and FDNY special operations personnel. They were initially sent to Pamlico County, N.C. where they staged before Hurricane Florence. Once the storm hit, they were dispatched to assist the needs of the community, primarily for water rescues. Pamlico mostly had wind damage and flooding from the tidal surge. After a few days, when they were released from Pamlico, they were redirected to Fayetteville, N.C. to assist Cumberland County with flooding from the Cape Fear River that was cresting. NYTF-1 spent the next few days there assisting in water rescues and evacuations of areas that were inaccessible by vehicles.
Chris certainly had an adventurous summer! We thank him wholeheartedly for his service and for making Middle Village proud.