NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wednesday is the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
On Sunday in Queens, a group of young surfers remembered a hero firefighter. CBS2’s Marc Liverman got a first-hand look at how they paid tribute to Richie Allen.
One man’s love for a sport is living on in a new generation, even after he’s gone. That’s what the 15th annual Richie Allen Memorial Surf Classic at Rockaway Beach is all about.
“They get to know then story of 9/11, so it will never be forgotten,” said Gail Allen, Richie’s mother.
It’s the story of 9/11 and of Gail Allen’s son, a New York City firefighter who was killed that day back in 2001. His brother remembers the last time they talked, the night before the attack.
“He had to work the night before. He was going to try to come home and surf, then go back to work but then the tone alarms went off and they all responded, so he didn’t make it surfing that day, unfortunately,” Luke Allen said.
But Luke and the rest of Richie’s family wanted to make sure that passion, that love for the waves, was kept alive.
“It’s a way to bring his spirit into today,” Luke Allen said.
More than 80 kids compete in the event and there are prizes, but it’s mostly about the fun and to honor Richie’s memory.
“When you’re out there and you realize that you’re surfing for somebody else, it just feels really good,” surfer Parker Karinsky said.
Richie Allen was 31 years old when he died. A former lifeguard, he had been a firefighter for just six months. He responded to a terror attack that none of the kids on Sunday were even alive to see. He was a man who grew up surfing at Rockaway Beach.
“He was an avid member of this community, so it’s all about respect out here,” Karinsky said.
“They do it with pride and I think that’s the nicest part. It’s the love and the pride of the sport that he loved more than anything,” Gail Allen added.
It was a day of kids paying their respects through the sport, proud of a hero they can call one of their own.
The event raises about $10,000, which organizers said goes to families in need.