Firefighter Chris Gaulrapp, born and raised in Middle Village, was honored for his heroism at our October 18th meeting. His wife, Jaclyn, and their 2 children, 10-year old Nora, and 8-year old Christopher, were in attendance.
Chris, the son of Helene and Ed Gaulrapp, grew up on 77th Place between Juniper Valley Road and 66 Road, attended St. Margaret's School and graduated in 1993. He then attended Holy Cross High School, graduating in 1997. He became a member of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps starting at the age of 15. He started as a dispatcher in the youth corps and then was an EMT later. He attended St. Thomas Aquila's 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 was transferred to Rescue 1 which covers the Borough of Manhattan. Chris' father is a retired firefighter which was the driving force behind why he became a firefighter. Before his retirement in 2004, they had the opportunity to work several tours together.
Gaulrapp, as a member of Rescue 1, was responsible for rescuing 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 the storm. 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.