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Thomas A. Gardner Science
Teacher Endowment Fund
QC Secondary Education Dept.
QC Physics Department
Thomas A. Gardner was
lost carrying out his duties as a Firefighter in the World Trade Center Sept.
He graduated in 1995, with Honors, as
a Biology Education major in the Queens College Divisions of Education and
Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and the Science Teacher Careers
Program. For 12 years, he served with Engine Co. 59 in Harlem, where
he endured building collapses, burns and other firefighting injuries.
He became a Haz-Mat Company 1 firefighter and FD instructor during his
17 years with the New York City Fire Department.
Tom had specialized training in a spectrum of toxic threats, including
anthrax, and flew to many parts of the USA giving seminars for the IAFF
(The International Association of Fire Fighters) to prepare law
enforcement agencies to handle those dangers.
Upon his retirement from the New York City Fire Dept., Tom had planned
a second career as a high school science teacher.
Tom saw beauty in nature and in all living things. He spent some of
his days-off as a volunteer, teaching children at the Bronx Zoo.
Earlier before being married, he nursed injured birds back to health as
a member of Volunteers for Wildlife in Huntington.
When he was 21, he went to Africa and "came back a changed man." With
his wife Liz, he explored the Rocky Mountains, the Adirondacks, the
Grand Canyon, Hawaii, California, Bermuda, made many trips to their
beloved Maine, and went whale watching off Cape Cod.
"In his own way, Tommy was extraordinary. His kindness, thoughtfulness
and giving was felt by all who knew him.... His quick wit was always
followed by a lot of laughter, and he always managed to do it with
charm." Engine 59/Ladder 30, Harlem, NY
"Here was a FDNY firefighter and hazmat specialist the tops in
the field who treated everyone with dignity and respect"
IAFF Instructor, Al Valerioti
"Tom was an awesome instructor. The IAFF (International Association of
Fire Fighters) was preparing a group of FDNY instructors to help
educate new recruits to the fire service. Tom was nominated into the
class by Chief Fanning.... His ability to clearly convey technical
material was so advanced we immediately nominated him for Master
"At Queens College, Tom stood out as a student with the most penetrating
questions; always probing for a deeper conceptual understanding of the
sciences and their relation to society."
Professor Mark Miksic
"I feel a great, great sorrow that you and so many innocent people had
to die this way.... Love is stronger than hate. We will make this
world a better place for our children's sake. We will use the gifts
we've been given to do something great in this world." Elizabeth